Belfast Telegraph

Carrick Rangers favourites after level pegging at Institute

Institute 1 - Carrick Rangers 1

By Colin Speer

Carrick Rangers will be the happier heading into the second leg of the Premiership promotion/relegation play-off on Friday night against Institute.

The Premiership men scored an all-important away goal, but Kevin Deery will feel his side more than matched Rangers.

Institute fielded the same side which saw off Ballyclare Comrades in Friday night's Championship play-off semi-final to set up this tie.

However, Deery had to make a change just before kick-off, with Gareth Brown coming in for Stephen Curry, who was injured in the warm-up.

The home side went close on seven minutes after Michael McCrudden's free-kick found Stephen O'Donnell, but the big centre-back's header was straight at keeper Brian Neeson.

On 28 minutes a direct run by Brown ended with the striker's left footed strike failing to trouble Neeson.

Moments later Institute were forced into another substitution, this time Darryl McDermott replaced the injured Raymond Foy.

The change meant that O'Donnell moved into midfield and McDermott slotted in alongside Mark Scoltock at the back.

Stute broke the deadlock on 41 minutes as McCrudden made no mistake, firing home from 16 yards after the ball wasn't cleared by the visitors.

Minutes later Rangers levelled things from the penalty spot after Niall Grace was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box.

Marty Murray was pinpoint accurate with his shot, planting the ball just out of Stute keeper Marty Gallagher's reach.

Rangers went close to taking the lead early in the second half but Mark Surgenor's header flashed just wide.

Institute went close themselves moments later but McDermott's header, which had keeper Neeson beaten, was cleared off the line by Aaron Smyth.

Soon after, Sammy Morrow had a half chance after Neeson's mis-hit clearance fell to the ex-Linfield striker, but his effort towards the unguarded goal was well off target.

As Stute pushed forward for the winner, Rangers nearly stole it, but substitute Dean O'Brien's close range header was ruled out for offside.

In the closing stages Murray went close to winning it, but his 25 yard drive flashed just over.

INSTITUTE: Gallagher, Roddy, O'Donnell, Scoltock, D Curry, Brown (Friel-Curran 74), Foy (McDermott 31), Grace, McIntyre (Dougherty 88), McCrudden, Morrow.

Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Smyth, McCullough, Taggart (Noble 52), McVey, Surgenor, Chapman (Foster 90), Murray, Kelly, McNally, McAllister (O'Brien 74).

Referee: Lee Tavinder

 

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