Warrenpoint Town 1 Carrick Rangers 1
A hard-fought match at Milltown saw the gap of nine points maintained with Carrick thankful to goalkeeper Brian Neeson who made a number of superb stops in the second half to deny bottom side Warrenpoint the win.
After dominating the early exchanges, the visitors went in front through Daniel Kelly before Sean Donnelly levelled for the home side just after the hour mark.
Warrenpoint assumed control in the second period and had a succession of chances only to find an inspired Neeson in their way.
Played on an extremely soggy pitch that did well to beat the weather, this game took a while to spring to life but when it did, it was the visitors who went in front.
On 16 minutes, Miguel Chines whipped in a corner from the right which was glanced goalwards by Kyle Cherry at the near post but was cleared off the line by a Warrenpoint defender.
After serving warning of their threat from set-pieces, Carrick were gifted another opportunity to convert one just 60 seconds later and this time they made no mistake.
Again Chines cross from the corner and this time it was Daniel Kelly who got his head on it and the ball found the net despite the despairing attempt of Liam Bagnall to clear.
It was no more than Gary Haveron’s side deserved at that stage as they had been the hungrier of the two teams up until that point of proceedings.
However, the hosts did gradually begin to make their way back into it and after Paudie Smith and Daniel Hughes had seen shots blocked in quick succession, Warrenpoint deservedly drew level 12 minutes before the interval.
Stephen Murray cut the ball back in from the left where Daniel Hughes, in his last game for the club before he heads to Cliftonville, sidefooted goalwards. His effort was saved Brian Neeson but the Carrick keeper couldn’t hold it and the lively Sean Donnelly popped up in the right place at the right time to score from the rebound.
Warrenpoint began the second half in lightning quick fashion and created two great chances in the opening five minutes only to be denied on both occasions by some excellent goalkeeping from Neeson.
A conuterr-attack saw Conor McDonald slide the ball to Murray down the left and the striker cut inside onto his right foot before curling in a goalbound effort that the keeper acrobatically palmed away.
Then after goalscorer Donnelly had made inroads on the opposite flank, his shot was blocked only for it to spin up towards Daniel Hughes and the striker’s volley from 16 yards was superbly stopped low to his left by a full-stretch Neeson.
The home side were again denied by the keeper with 15 minutes to go when Mark Hughes did well down the left before finding Murray but his low left footed effort from 15 yards was stopped by Neeson.
After Cherry had dragged his shot just wide of the left hand post for Carrick on 82 minutes, Neeson again had to be alert at the other end to turn a Daniel Hughes effort round the post a minute later. Warrenpoint then almost went in front when Brian McCaul volleyed the ball off his own bar while attempting to clear a cross from sub Matthew Rooney.
Warrenpoint Town: Parr, McDonald, M Hughes, Moan, Donnelly (Rooney 82), McVeigh, Smith (McGuigan 68), D Hughes, Murray, Bagnall, Boyle
Subs not used: Clarke, Kierans, Dane
Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Traynor, Surgenor, Kelly, Harmon, Cherry (McNeill 89), Chines (Browne 86), Roy (Mackie 86), Johnston, McCaul, Taggart
Subs not used: Kane, Doyle
Referee: Stephen Gregg