It wasn't pretty but we've shown we can grind it out: Curran
Carrick Rangers 0 Cliftonville 1
Skipper Chris Curran admitted Cliftonville's win at the Loughshore Hotel Arena wasn't pretty - but insisted the result was more important than the performance.
Paddy McLaughlin's boys got the better of Carrick Rangers in a game that never rose above any degree of mediocrity.
It was fitting that the only piece of genuine quality on show duly led to the winning goal.
Joe Gormley's cute reverse pass sent Curran racing clear.
When he picked out Ronan Doherty on the left, the midfielder quickly released Ryan Curran on the right and his low cross was nudged over the line by his namesake Chris.
"It wasn't a classic by any means, but the main thing was picking up the three points," said the captain. "We'll probably play better in certain games and lose.
"Every team has to grind out results like that. It's all about winning, we'll worry about the performance later."
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On his winning strike, the former Ballinamallard United man added: "It was a pure counter-attack. It all came from their (Carrick's) corner-kick.
"When we broke, I realised I had quite a few options.
"I certainly couldn't have done it all on my own. I spotted Ronan flying down the left, I was happy to give him the ball. He then switched it to Ryan and he really put it on a plate for me.
"It would have been harder to miss, but it was a well-worked goal. Tap-ins are always sweet, especially when it wins you the game.
"It's something I'm trying to do, score more goals. That's one part of my game I need to improve on.
"That was my first 90 minutes of the campaign. Just at the tail-end of pre-season, I sustained a little niggle which disrupted me a little bit, so I was really happy to get a full 90 minutes under my belt."
CARRICK: Hogg, Neale, Surgenor, Loughran, Chapman (Gray, 69 mins), Faulkner (Kelly, 32 mins), Nixon, Ferrin, Smith, Cherry (McDermott, 62 mins), Anderson. Unused subs: McAuley, Carson, Rodgers, Magill.
CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, McDermott, Ives, Breen, Harney, C Curran, R Curran, R Donnelly (McMenamin, 66 mins), Bagnall (Wilson, 81 mins), Doherty, Gormley (Gorman, 86 mins). Unused subs: Dunne, Foster, Maguire, A Donnelly.
Referee: Shane Andrews (Ballygowan)
Man of the Match: Chris Curran
Match Rating: 4/10