Only six minutes of chaos prevented Carrick Rangers from securing maximum points from November.
The month commenced with a short trip to East Antrim neighbours Ballyclare Comrades. A comprehensive ninety minutes saw Rangers take all the spoils in a 4-1 demolition, as Michael Smith and Daniel Kelly both scored a brace.
Next up, Rangers hosted Ballinamallard United at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena. The home side dominated the first half but failed to score. They were severely punished when the Ducks scored three times in a frantic six minutes to leave the Amber Army stunned. Paul McDowell’s late penalty was just a consolation.
The longest trip of the season took Carrick to Castlederg. The visitors had brought their black away kit, which clashed with the Dergview home shirts. Consequently, Rangers took the field in the host’s red away kit. The first time Carrick had played in red since donning the Southampton strip they had swapped with their opponents after their the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup tie! Dergview were outplayed, as Rangers coped well with the physical game played by the hosts. A few chances went begging before Chris Rodgers met a beauty of a cross from captain Mark Surgenor to head the ball home on the stroke of half-time. The visitors’ dominance was capped with a late Stewart Nixon goal.
The month ended with a visit from Knockbreda. Again, Rangers dominated possession only to be held at bay early on by the ‘Breda goalkeeper. The deadlock was eventually broken as the interval beckoned: Caolan Loughlin scoring a superb volley as a corner reached him on the edge of the six-yard box. After the break, Smith scored a header from a superb Rabona cross by Nixon, and The latter provided a more routine assist for Gary Warwick to add a late third.
Plenty to be upbeat about as Carrick Rangers enter December, a month packed with fixtures. Rangers will face six games including Portadown (twice) and runaway leaders Larne. Carlsberg don’t do season-defining months, but if they did…