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Gary Hamilton slams 'ridiculous decision' to send off Lee McNulty in Glenavon's win over Carrick

Carrick Rangers 3-4 Glenavon


Glenavon's Lee McNulty (left) was shown a red card.

Glenavon's Lee McNulty (left) was shown a red card.

Glenavon's Lee McNulty (left) was shown a red card.

It was not a day for good football but the goals kept coming at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena - and none of them were down to the gale-force wind which did its best to ruin the spectacle.

It was the first time Carrick Rangers had scored three and lost a Premiership game and boss Niall Currie put them all down to individual errors.

Opposite number Gary Hamilton, however, praised Glenavon's 10 men for the mettle and resolve they showed in the final half-hour after what he felt was a "ridiculous decision" to send off Lee McNulty for a second yellow card offence with the score at 4-2.

"McNulty's tackle happened right in front of the dug-out and it was never a million years a sending off. He won the ball cleanly," said Hamilton. "They got their third from a set-piece - they had the extra player in the box - and at that stage we could have crumbled and let them go on to draw or even win it, but we hung in and came away deservedly as 4-3 winners."

That was something with which Currie could agree, as ever refusing to mince his words and describing his side's performance as poor.

"The goals were all avoidable and generally the performance lacked the levels we have been at, certainly against the Crues last week," he said. "We had been playing good attacking stuff but today, we played no-risk football, too much sideways and backwards. Glenavon deserved their win."

Luck was not on Carrick's side, either, though. After losing Jonny Frazer to a hamstring injury in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw between the teams at Mourneview Park, Currie lost two more strikers yesterday with Cathair Friel tearing ankle ligaments which "will keep him out for the foreseeable future" after just 15 minutes and, on the stroke of half-time, Alex Gawne also had to be replaced after pulling his hamstring.

Playing with the gale at their backs in the first-half, Carrick did not have a shot until the 38th minute and long before that found themselves two down.

Colin Coates needed less than four minutes to give the visitors the lead, with a fine turn and shot after Josh Doyle headed on Michael O'Connor's free-kick.

Nine minutes later, Doyle provided another assist, after Mark Surgenor gave the ball away, and Conor McCloskey was unmarked at the back post to score.

Carrick gave themselves a lifeline in first-half stoppage time when substitute Lloyd Anderson converted Jordan Gibson's cut back and, within seven minutes of the restart, the home side were level with Caolan Loughran scoring his third penalty in successive games, after James Singleton was adjudged to have brought down Anderson just inside the box.

But four minutes later, Glenavon were two goals to the good again as Carrick committed what Currie called "hari-kari", with Peter Campbell beating Aaron Hogg at his near post from McCloskey's cross and then O'Connor scored from the penalty spot after the goalkeeper dropped the ball and then bundled over Doyle.

Loughran scored his second goal in the 70th minute from a Gerard Storey free-kick but Glenavon held out with some comfort for the three points.

CARRICK: Hogg 5, Rodgers 5, Surgenor 5, Loughran 7, Chapman 6, Kelly 6, Cherry 6 (Storey, 60 mins, 6), Smith 5, Gibson 6, Gawne 5 (Forsythe, 46 mins, 5), Friel 5 (Anderson, 17 mins, 6). Unused subs: McKinty, Neale, Gordon, Glendinning.

Glenavon: Hyland 6, Hall 6 (Snoddy, 67 mins, 6), McNulty 4, Coates 6, Singleton 5, Garrett 6, O'Connor 7, Campbell 7, McCloskey 8, McCaffrey 6 (Fitzpatrick, 63 mins, 6), J Doyle 7 (A Doyle, 60 mins, 5). Unused subs: Byrne, Purkis, Harmon, O'Mahony.

Referee: Tony Clarke (Newtownabbey) 5

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