Belfast Telegraph

Upbeat Callaghan is pleased to keep Ports at arm's length

Carrick Rangers 1 Portadown 1

By Robert Jones

Disappointed though he was to see his side let their lead slip late on, Carrick Rangers boss Aaron Callaghan was pleased to maintain a 10-point gap over fellow basement battlers Portadown.

Adam Salley had put the hosts in front but substitute Eoin Kirwan rescued a draw for the Ports, who remain on minus one at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership.

"They were good against us in the first half," said Callaghan.

"Their shape and their movement was good but we adjusted to that.

"In the second half we were the better side for a 20-minute period and we were rewarded with the goal.

"I'm disappointed that we conceded but I can't fault the effort of my players. They worked their socks off.

"We've gained a point on our nearest rivals. All in all it was important that we didn't give them any momentum with a win so I'm pleased with that."

Portadown interim manager Vinny Arkins, meanwhile, reflected: "I thought we dominated the first half in terms of possession but we maybe lacked that cutting edge in front of goal. The first 25 minutes was the best we've played all season but unfortunately there wasn't anything on the end of it.

"It comes down to the same thing - you have to believe that you're going to score and maybe some of the players are in a bit of a rut at the minute."

Carrick: Neeson, Chapman, Hanley (Kelly, 62 mins), Surgenor, Murray (Wilson, 83 mins), Rice, TJ Murray, McCullough, McNally, Salley (Morrow, 72 mins), McNicholl. Unused subs: Wilson, Taggart, Lavery.

Portadown: McGaughey, Carson, O'Hara, Breen, Byrne, Henderson (Mackle, 69 mins), Garrett, Shannon, Parker (Kirwan, 79 mins), Haire, Hughes. Unused subs: Larkin, Simpson, Wilson

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

Man of the match: Robert Garrett

Match rating: 6/10

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