Rangers jump at chance to hit Reds with Hoops on their minds

Carrick Rangers notched up an impressive victory against Danske Bank Premiership champions Cliftonville at Solitude on Saturday afternoon.

The friendly fell directly in between Cliftonville’s two European champions League games against Scottish Premier League champions Celtic, with the latter taking place on Tuesday night, when Cliftonville travelled to Celtic Park for the second-leg qualifier.

Diarmuid O’Carroll gave the Reds the lead on 42 minutes as he headed in a Martin Donnelly free-kick, after Abby Sanusi gave away a free kick, 15 yards outside Simon Steele’s penalty area.

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The home side had earlier chances to take the lead and they should have opened the scoring on 16 minutes as Liam Boyce down well to beat his marker before pulling the ball back to O’Carroll who glazed his shot over the bar from 12 yards.

Carrick also had a good opportunity early on, a surging Abby Sanusi run down the left flank lead to a chance for Richard Gibson, his shot went narrowly wide of Conor Devlin’s left hand post.

Simon Steele was impressive between the posts for Rangers, saving from Liam Boyce on the half hour, Boyce’s low powerful shot was well saved by Steele who parried the ball away from Danger.

Sanusi attempted to get an immediate reply for the men in Amber and Black, but his powerful shot didn’t threaten Devlin’s goal.

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An enforced half-time change had to be made, due to an injury to goalkeeper Simon Steele. Steele suffered an ankle injury in the first half and with no back-up keeper on the bench, captain Gary Haveron had to stick on the gloves.

The first chance of the second half fell to Richard Gibson: the striker met a superb ball from Damien Curran, but was unable to beat Devlin in the Cliftonville goal.

From a Rangers free-kick in a dangerous area, Correy Davidson struck the ball well but couldn’t find the net, with Devlin again to the Reds’ rescue.


rick were then offered a gilt-edged chance, when Anto Lagan seized on some dithering Cliftonville defending. He was through one-on-one with the keeper, but Lagan unselfishly squared the ball to Natahn McConnell, whose poked effort was grasped by goalkeeper Devlin.

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Carrick Rangers’ makeshift goalkeeper Gary Haveron played like an experienced stopper, tipping over an O’Carroll header which was destined for the goal.

Rangers equalised ten minutes later, a fine ball from 17-year-old Jackson Griffiths finding Correy Davidson on the left wing. The winger took the ball down the flank before whipping in a dangerous ball, which was converted by McConnell.

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nutes later, Daniel Kelly gave Carrick the lead. A Correy Davidson corner was poorly defended by Cliftonville, allowing Kelly to finish from close range.

Nathan McConnell tried to grab his second of the day, but his well executed shot was saved by Devlin.

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Cliftonville sub Jody Lynch nearly equalised on 89 minutes, but his lobbed effort smashed the crossbar.

Straight up the field in a counter-attack, a Carrick Rangers move was finished off by Anto Lagan, who blasted the ball past Devlin from 15 yards out.