Newry dreaming of the top flight after stirring revival rocks Carrick
Newry City 3 Carrick Rgrs 2
Newry City AFC will take a one-goal lead into Wednesday's second leg of the promotion/relegation play-off after coming from two goals behind against Carrick at the Showgrounds last night.
After Davy McAlinden's men had raced into an early lead, Newry showed huge character to go in front by half-time.
And they could have been further ahead had Declan Carville not missed a second-half penalty.
Carrick began at lightning speed and hit the net twice in the first 10 minutes.
Their first arrived just five minutes in when a slip by Newry left-back Darren King allowed Andrew Mooney in down the right.
His pinpoint cross was right on the head of the inrushing Darren Henderson, who made no mistake to nod past Steven Maguire from six yards out.
Things got even better for Carrick and even worse for the home side just five minutes later when, from Eamon McAllister's corner, centre-back Paddy McNally ghosted in unmarked at the back post to volley home with aplomb.
However, after that, Darren Mullen's men seemed to settle and gradually worked their way into the game to pull one back 18 minutes in after what can only be described as a howler by visiting keeper Harry Doherty.
Mark McCabe made space 20 yards out to turn and fire in a speculative shot that looked bread and butter for the young stopper, but he somehow managed to let the ball slip through his grasp and into the net.
Six minutes later, with Newry on the front foot, they levelled.
Kevin McArdle's clever lay-off inside from the right found Stephen Hughes on the edge of the box and his shot took a wicked deflection off a Carrick defender to loop in past Doherty.
With their tails up, Newry were unlucky not to take the lead a minute later when Stephen Hughes cracked in a superb 25-yard shot that had Doherty beaten all ends up but came back off the bar and into the path of Mark Hughes. However, his effort also came back off the bar.
Amazingly, Newry hit the woodwork for the third time in the space of five minutes and it was Stephen Hughes who was the unlucky man once again when his low drive hit the outside of the left post.
However, Newry did take the lead 11 minutes before the break when Daniel Larmour was adjudged to have handled McCabe's shot in the box and referee Lee Tavinder pointed to the spot.
Carville stepped up to send Doherty the wrong way to give Newry a lead that looked unlikely after 10 minutes.
Newry had a glorious chance to extend their lead on 67 minutes when they were awarded a second penalty when Mark Hughes went down as he attempted to get a head on sub Keith Johnston's cross. However, Doherty guessed correctly and saved Carville's weak effort.
Newry City AFC: Maguire, King, Mooney (McCaul 86), Noonan, Boyle, McCann, Carville, McArdle (Johnston 56), M Hughes, McCabe, S Hughes (Walker 80). Subs not used: Mullen, McMahon
Carrick Rangers: Doherty, Smyth, Edgar, McNally, Chapman (Glackin 70), McAllister (Anau 66), Mooney, Larmour, Kottoy (Taggart 70), Hassin, Henderson. Subs not used: Gage, Morrow
Referee: Lee Tavinder
Man of the Match: Declan Carville (Newry City).
Match Rating: 8/10.