Belfast Telegraph

Gers' reaction to early setback is encouraging for boss Callaghan

Carrick Rangers 2 Ards 2

By Kris Jack

Aaron Callaghan's Carrick Rangers may have come back from an early setback, but it wasn't enough to get them out of relegation bother.

Their 2-2 draw with Ards condemns them to finishing in the bottom two, with a play-off spot looming ominously in the likely event of avoiding automatic demotion.

"When you go 1-0 down against any opposition in the first minutes, it knocks you back," said Callaghan.

"I was worried enough to change the tactics and I thought once we did, we got to grips with it in the middle of the park. We were more on top and, when they got the second goal, it was good that we countered back straight away.

"Marty's (Murray) goal gave us a bit of impetus before half time, then Paddy's (McNally) header going in for 2-2, it was a fantastic performance to get back in to it.

"We know we're not over the line yet, there's three massive games to come and if and when we get to the play-off, we'll prepare as best we can for that."

Ards boss Colin Nixon was happy enough despite throwing away their lead, which came courtesy of two Guillaume Keke strikes.

"We just took our foot off the gas," he said.

"I can't be too disappointed with my players, they've been on a fantastic run, but we just ran out of steam a bit today. I'm very proud of them, that's 40 points they've got now which is some achievement for club like ours."

Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Smyth, McNally, McVey, McCullough, Chapman (Kelly, 81 mins), TJ Murray, Rice, M Murray, Elder (Noble, 75 mins), O'Brien. Unused subs: Quigley, Morrow, Taggart.

Ards: Hogg, Bradley, Byers, Taylor, Doherty, McMullen (Mitchell, 87 mins), Tommons, Cherry, McAllister, Keke, Shevlin (Liggett, 75 mins). Unused subs: McMullan, Hughes, Mitchell, Arthurs.

Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon)

Man of the match: Brian Neeson

Match rating: 7/10

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