Michael Smith hit his first senior hat-trick as Carrick Rangers turned on the style to break their duck and inflict a first away defeat on Portadown.
These were the matches that Carrick boss Niall Currie told his players they had to win if they are to avoid a season-long struggle fearing relegation and under the Loughshore Hotel Arena lights they produced a treat, scoring as many in 45 minutes as they had in the previous 10 hours.
They had fallen behind after just nine minutes, albeit to a superb goal started by Ports goalkeeper Ben Pierce and via three first-time touches to Nathan Kerr whose cross was headed in at the back post by Chris Lavery.
Aaron Burns almost doubled the lead five minutes later but his 25-yard shot shaved the upright.
Thirty seconds later, Carrick responded with a Lloyd Anderson shot which hit the post and after that they took control.
The equaliser came in the 19th minute when Jonny Frazer was brought down on the edge of the box by Patrick McNally, but he got up and took the free-kick which was headed in by Caolan Loughran for his third goal of the season.
Nine minutes later, Carrick were in front when Frazer's cross was cleared by Greg Hall but only to Smith, who fired home.
Frazer saw a shot saved by the legs of Pierce and Smith was just wide with a header before half-time but it took less than three minutes after the restart for Carrick to increase their advantage.
Frazer was again the provider, cashing in on a mistake on the right touchline by George Tipton and his cross was rolled into the net by Smith.
The striker completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute with a shot from the far side of the penalty area. It hit the back stanchion and actually rebounded into the goalkeeper's arms but the referee's assistant ruled it had gone into the net.
Carrick: Hogg; Rodgers, Surgenor, Loughran; Kelly; Chapman (Glendinning 71), Gibson, Anderson, Neale; Smith (Tully 74), Frazer (Fearon 79). Unused subs: Gawne, Ferrin, Gordon, Colligan.
Portadown: Pierce; Hall, Finnegan, McNally, Burns; Kerr (Croskery 59), Wilson, Tipton (McKeown 59), Lavery (Salley 59); Bonis, Murray. Unused subs: Pengelly, McCallum, Conaty, Healy.
Referee: Christopher Morrison
Man of the Match: Michael Smith