IRISH LEAGUE: Carrick come from behind to snatch controversial point against Ards

Press Eye � Belfast - Northern Ireland
Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye �
Saturday 15th April 2017
NIFL Premiership
Carrick Rangers v Ards
Taylor's Avenue
Paddy McNally scored Carrick's second Goal
Press Eye � Belfast - Northern Ireland Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye � Saturday 15th April 2017 NIFL Premiership Carrick Rangers v Ards Taylor's Avenue Paddy McNally scored Carrick's second Goal
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Controversy surrounded Carrick’s equaliser as Ards lost ground in the European play-off race.

Guillaume Keke had sent Ards well on their way when he put this 2-0 up on 39 minutes.

But Carrick were level by the break, Martin Murray halving the deficit before defender Paddy McNally equalised on 45.

But the former Ballymena man had earlier fouled Ard’s impressive on-loan Sky Blue Matthew Shevlin outside the box. Last man? Definitely - but referee Lee Tavinder issued just a yellow card.

That all looked far off when in-form Frenchman Keke gave Ards the lead on just three minutes, firing home a well-hit volley after a corner was cleared to the edge of the box.

Keke’s second arrived on 39 when his 20 yard effort was deflected neatly into the bottom corner - just the touch of fortune required to beat a typically inspired Neeson.

The keeper had twice denied Shevlin and a strong Tommons effort and his outfield players eventually rewarded him for keeping his side in the game.

That began on 41 when Martin Murray halved the deficit, completing a neat one-two and slamming home his third goal in as many games.

Against all the odds, the plucky hosts were level at the break when Paddy McNally headed home on 45 - cue controversy.

It had been a first half that had everything - Carrick’s Declan O’Brien was inches from scoring from the centre-circle and at the other end Keke was denied another by his strike partner Shevlin, who inadvertently blocked the ball on the goal-line.

The second half didn’t live up to the billing of the first - chances at a premium although substitue Sean Noble did bundle the ball narrowly wide late on.

Portadown live to fight another day, Carrick are a point from avoiding the automatic drop and Ards are now three points off a European play-off place.

CARRICK RANGERS: Neeson, Chapman (Kelly 82), Smyth, McVey, McNally, Rice, M Murray, S McCullough, TJ Murray, O’Brien, Elder (Noble 77).

Unused Subs: Quigley, Morrow, Taggart.

ARDS: Hogg, Bradley, Byers, Taylor, Doherty, McMillen (Mitchell 87), Tommons, Cherry, McAllister, Keke, Shevlin (Liggett 77).

Unused Subs: McMullan, Hughes, Arthurs.

Refree: Lee Tavinder