Glentoran begin search for creative spark as Carrick feel the relief
Glentoran 0 Carrick Rangers 1
A first victory of the season which raises hope for Carrick Rangers but a second straight loss for Glentoran that has the Oval faithful searching for inspiration.
Not even Nacho Novo, who was handed his first start and the captain's armband, could find the magic touch.
The visitors displayed the fighting qualities that helped retain their Premiership status last season but Glentoran fans remain a frustrated bunch and their patience is already wearing thin only three games into the campaign.
A first-half goal from Miguel Chines sunk the Glens who couldn't produce a moment of magic to beat outstanding stopper Brian Neeson.
Boss Alan Kernaghan admitted his side need to find a new gear to breathe fresh life into their league assault.
"We've had two poor results and one poor performance because I feel we performed okay in this one," he said. "The players are frustrated but we had a good pre-season and we need to rediscover that confidence."
Match-winner Chines feels his side deserved some luck after sweating for the cause.
"It was always going to be tough coming here and especially on the back of two heavy defeats" admitted the frontman.
"Our plan was to keep it tight at the back, frustrate them and take any chances. Mark Clarke played a great forward ball, Bru managed to stay onside and fortunately my effort went in. We dealt with the movement of Curtis Allen and Nacho Novo very well.
"We should have scored earlier when I missed a chance and I thought it would come back to bite us, but although they put us under pressure we kept them out. It was very hard work but we managed to keep going and defended very well. With myself missing pre-season my legs were gone but we managed to see it out. Hopefully we can kick on from here.
"The games against Glenavon, Crusaders and Glentoran were never going to be easy so these three points are a huge bonus."
The Glentoran defence got their offside trap badly wrong for the goal on 31 minutes allowing Brian McCaul to collect Mark Clarke's long pass and square for Chines to slot the ball home.
It was a sweet moment for Chines who had missed an earlier opportunity. Novo poked a shot wide and Neeson made a brilliant save from Curtis Allen.
Elliott Morris' free-kick from his own half was tipped onto the woodwork by Neeson who, appropriately, produced the final act of defiance.
Glentoran: Morris, Smyth, Birney, Caldwell, Allen, Novo (Smith, 69 mins), Foley, (Cafolla, 65 mins), Addis, Nelson, Redman, Ferrin (Magee, 75 mins). Unused subs: Hamill, Gordon.
Carrick: Neeson, Kelly, Hanley, Clarke, McKeown, Chines, McNicholl, McCaul (Morrow 83), McNally, McCullough, Murray. Unused subs: Lavery, Rice, McFall, English.
Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon).
Man of match: Brian Neeson
Match rating: 6/10