Carrick boss Gary Haveron praised his players’ collective character after they battled from two down to salvage a draw at home to Ballymena United.
A second-half David Cushley double had looked like it would pave the way for the Sky Blues’ third win on the bounce, but the hosts hit back with a free-kick from Ryan Kane and a deflected Ben Roy leveller.
“The spirit the boys showed was fantastic,” said Haveron, a former United player.
“When you are two down against any Premiership club it’s very rare that you come back from that.
“But the boys showed great heart and determination and a bit of quality in the end to get the two goals.
“But I can’t help feeling disappointed that we weren’t two ahead before we were two down. Miguel Chines and Adam Dick both had chances to put us in front.
“We’re disappointed we got done with two long balls over the top; it’s basic defending.
“It’s not like Ballymena created too much or had to do anything to get their goals. Cushley’s first was a big punt over the top and they’ve scored from it.
“However, we showed good character to get something out of the game.”
Haveron admitted the signs are positive for Rangers after halting a run of five straight defeats in all competitions with the recent draw against David Healy’s Linfield. Carrick certainly built on that confidence-boosting result at Windsor with Saturday’s battling display against Ballymena.
“We’ve never lost belief in ourselves,” Haveron added. “Even when we weren’t getting the results we were still playing relatively well and creating chances.
“I think if you stop creating chances and are leaking goals at the back then it’s a concern. That hasn’t been the case for us.
“We have been creating a lot of opportunites; we just haven’t been taking them when they’ve come along.
“It’s nice to pick up a few results and put a few points on the board. It’s always going to bring a feel-good factor.”
With Glenn Ferguson absent from Taylor’s Avenue due to illness, United’s assistant-manager, Lee Doherty, gave an honest assessment of his side’s display.
“I’m disappointed we’ve lost the game.
“Once we went two up it looked as though there would be no other winners but ourselves,” he said.
“The free-kick which they scored from was a bit annoying but I’m not going to keep lambasting referees because I’m fed up doing that. It seems to be week-in, week-out, but it was certainly a decision that I felt wasn’t a foul and it changed the game. But we need to manage that better. If it happens, we need to get ourselves focused as opposed to arguing with referees.
“I couldn’t fault our players, it was a sticky pitch and they gave everything.”