Ballymena United 0 Carrick Rangers 2
Carrick Rangers boss Niall Currie singled out captain Kyle Cherry after he inspired the visitors to their second win of the season over Ballymena United at a wet and wild Warden Street.
The midfielder scored the opener and sent in the pass for Daniel Kelly's insurance goal as Carrick moved five points clear of their feeble hosts.
After a promising start where there were good chances for Kyle Owens, Leroy Millar and new signing Joe McCready, whose display was the only plus for the Sky Blues, the wheels fell off when Cherry headed home Darren Murray's cross.
Another headed goal 11 minutes after the break by Kelly from Cherry's howitzer of centre into the area wrapped things up against a United side that failed to register a single shot on target throughout the second period.
David Jeffrey and his players remained locked in the dressing room for well over an hour after the players had sheltered from the storm outside but for Currie it was a day of positives all round, starting with his skipper.
"I thought he was sensational and that's the Kyle Cherry we've been trying to get back to over the last few years," he said.
"He's got himself in wonderful condition, he's fit and he's raring to go and, for me, he ran the show.
"He was massively supported by the rest of the team. I thought (Alex) Gawne was magnificent, Darren Murray linked up the play well and made some great runs and our back five and goalkeeper was superb.
"It was just a really, really good day in really bad conditions, but I thought we managed the conditions really well."
It is another step closer for the east Antrim side for their goal - survival in the top flight - and any thoughts of a relegation battle or play-off worries are now surely behind them.
"We were on a wee bit of a bad run, but it's not really a bad run just the Warrenpoint game took away from the Cliftonville game before it," added Currie.
"If you turned it the other way round, lost to Cliftonville and be great at Warrenpoint, you think it is okay.
"But it seemed to be an emergency from losing to Warrenpoint but we told the boys to stay calm. The perspective is we are so close to getting over the line here and keeping us in the league for next season and that's the target.
"We know we're not too far away from that, we've just to keep the head down now and get Glentoran out of the way on Friday night and then we go toe to toe with Dungannon.
"But where we're at with 31 points is astonishing, absolutely astonishing.
"For this time of year, the start of February, it's amazing, but nothing that the players don't deserve."
Ballymena: Ross Glendinning, McGrory, McCullough, Addis, Whiteside, Owens, Knowles (J Kelly, 65 mins), Winchester (T Kane, 65 mins), Friel (K Kane, 68 mins), Millar, McCready. Unused subs: Burns, Balmer, Reece Glendinning, Lavery.
Carrick: Doherty, Magill, Neale, Surgenor, Loughran, Anderson (Faulkner, 83 mins), Chapman (Carson, 13 mins), Cherry, Murray, Gawne (Reynolds, 89 mins), D Kelly. Unused subs: Nicholl, Hassin, Colligan, Hoy.
Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)
Man of the match: Kyle Cherry
Match rating: 7/10