Carrick Rangers 2-2 Ballymena United: David Cushley at the double but United lose control
Carrick Rangers 2-2 Ballymena Utd
Ballymena United assistant manager Lee Doherty was at a loss to explain how his side didn't collect three points from their trip to the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena.
Two David Cushley goals had the Sky Blues flying, only for Carrick Rangers to hit back through Ryan Kane and Ben Roy as United surrendered their advantage in the closing stages.
"Up until the 70th minute I thought we had the game under control," said Doherty. "It's just one of those games where you come away wondering how you haven't taken home three points.
"Fair play to Carrick, they dug in, but we shouldn't have allowed them a foothold at two up.
"It's frustrating, I'm pleased with the performance and the work rate but I just think we should have seen it out.
"We played all the football, but it was one of those days where the better side didn't come away with the result."
Cushley opened the scoring on 56 minutes when he found the bottom corner after racing onto a ball over the top.
The same netting rippled when William Faulkner helped Cushley take advantage of some poor defending to make it 2-0 but Kane's free-kick offered the hosts hope before Roy levelled matters after keeper Dwayne Nelson's punch had fallen short.
Rangers boss Gary Haveron was naturally thrilled with his players' approach.
"We fought for everything and I'm well pleased with the point, considering the way we conceded the two goals," he said.
"There's a belief in this team and a never-say-die attitude. I have faith in the boys and I think we were rewarded in the end for our hard work when things were going against us."
CARRICK: Neeson, Kane, Doyle, Traynor, Taggart, Harmon, Surgenor, Dick (Roy, 59 mins), Johnston (McNeill, 67 mins) McCloskey, Chines (Browne, 67 mins). Unused subs: Keenan, Miskimmin.
BALLYMENA: Nelson, Ervin, McVey, Taylor, Ruddy, Faulkner, Kane, Taggart (Shevlin, 83 mins), Gawley (Millar, 72 mins), Jenkins, Cushley. Unused subs: McBride, Magennis, Kane
Man of the Match: David Cushley
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Ian McNabb (Jordanstown)