Carrick's cup joy must inspire league revival, says McAlinden
Glentoran 0 Carrick Rangers 1
Carrick Rangers boss David McAlinden saluted his boys after last night's Bet McLean League Cup win at the Oval.
Mark Edgar's fantastic free kick booked the visitors' quarter-final place - and deservedly so.
The East Antrim team outfought Gary Haveron's Glentoran, who were booed off by their irate fans at the finish.
"I don't think anyone would deny us the win," said McAlinden. "I thought the boys were great all over the pitch.
"We came here to win the game, we didn't shut up shop. The only disappointment is we didn't score more goals.
"It was a great finish by Mark to win it, but he has that in his locker. It's great to be in the quarter final, but we have to build on this result in terms of our league position."
Battling Carrick were beaten in last season's final by Ballymena United, but they sent out a message of intent with this performance.
Only for an inspired goalkeeping display from Dwayne Nelson, handed a rare starting slot in place of Elliott Morris, and some wasteful finishng it could have been a much greater scoreline, as McAlinden suggested.
Andrew Mooney could well have had the visitors in front on only four minutes as Glens defender Nathan Kerr lost possession to Ben Roy, who curled in a teasing cross to the back post, where the striker turned wide.
In another move, Edgar's free kick picked out the unmarked Denver Gage, who turned the ball across the face of the goal but there were no takers.
Glentoran at last threw off the shackles and tested Harry Doherty for the first time on 29 minutes, but the young shot stopper got down smartly to beat away a Curtis Allen shot.
The visitors almost achieved a breakthrough 11 minutes before the break when Jonny Addis stopped Mark Surgenor's surging run with a blatant body check. Edgar stopped up to curl a 25 yard free kick around the Glentoran wall only to see Nelson leap across his line to paw clear.
And, from the resulting corner kick from Ben Roy, Mark Clarke's flicked header fizzed just over the top.
The Glens were first out of the blocks after the restart. Allen's vision picked out the long-striding Steven Gordon, but Doherty had little trouble dealing with his low effort.
Rangers thought they had achieved the breakthrough on 57 minutes when Mooney turned in an Edgar cross, but the referee's assistant already had his flag raised. Then, that man Edgar tried his luck with audacious 40 yard free kick that Nelson was relieved to touch past the post.
But Edgar was not to be denied.
When Addis hauled down Michael Smith on the edge of the box, referee Raymond Hetherington was right on the spot to award a free kick - and the former Coleraine man stepped up to drill a brilliant effort into the top corner and win the tie.
Glentoran: D Nelson, Kane, Addis, Kelly, Allen, McMullan, Kerr, McNicholl, Knowles (Delaney, 60 mins), K Nelson, Gordon (Smith, 56 mins). Unused subs: Foley, Ferrin, McCaul.
Carrick: Doherty, Smyth, Edgar, Surgenor, Gage, Chapman, McMullan, Smith, Clarke (Morrow, 55 mins), Mooney (Green 81), Roy. Unused subs: Rice, Malone, Hassin.
Man of the match: Mark Edgar
Match rating: 5/10
Ref: Raymond Heatherington (Dungannon)