McNicholl at the double as Carrick cut gap on Mallards
Ballinamallard Utd 1 Carrick Rangers 3
Tiernan McNicholl scored twice as Carrick Rangers came from behind to claim a massive three points against Ballinamallard at Ferney Park last night.
The result means Carrick have closed the gap on the 10th-placed Mallards to three points and moved themselves 11 points ahead of Portadown.
This result, though, did not look on the cards for the majority of the first half which was dominated by Gavin Dykes' side.
The home team produced some lovely football as they carved open a string of chances with Ryan Mayse and Adam Lecky to the fore.
Brian Neeson in the Carrick goal denied Mayse, Shane McCabe and James McKenna before the home side took the lead.
And it was Mayse who broke the deadlock in the 40th minute, giving Ballinamallard a deserved advantage after latching on to a Lecky flick on and blasting in.
The response was instant as a Carrick ball from the right broke to McNicholl and he slotted past James McGrath in the Mallards goal to leave it 1-1 at the interval.
And Carrick took the lead in the 64th minute as McNicholl grabbed his second. He took advantage of hesitancy in the Mallards defence following a ball forward to race in and calmly lift over McGrath for 2-1.
The points were in the bag for Aaron Callaghan's side in the 73rd minute as Jason McCartney was adjudged to have upended TJ Murray in the box and Martin Murray stepped up to convert.
Carrick held on for their second win of the season and their first since beating Glentoran back in September.
Ballinamallard Utd: McGrath, McMenamin, Lecky, Taheny, Feeney (McIlwaine 75mins), McCabe, McGinty (Owens 66 mins),McKenna, Mayse, Lafferty, McCartney
Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Chapman, Rice, Surgenor, Murray (Kelly 83mins), McNally, Hanley (Morrow 56mins), McNicholl, Salley (Taggart 89mins), TJ Murray, McCullough.