Rangers just have enough to see off Institute
Carrick Rangers 3, Institute 0
Carrick Rangers just showed that bit more in the attacking third, to deservedly see off lowly Institute, at Taylor's Avenue.
A early header from Daniel Kelly gave the home side the perfect start, before Mark Surgenor's late penalty and Michael Smith sealed the points, as Rangers made it back to back victories.
Once again 'Stute's Achilles heel came back to haunt them as they missed clear cut chances when the game was still within their grasp.
Niall Currie as expected kept faith with the side was hit Glenavon for six last weekend, while the visitors made four changes to their side, which was knocked out of the Bet McLean League Cup at Crusaders, on Tuesday night.
In came goalkeeper Rory Brown, Stephen Curry, Shaun Leppard and Shane McNamee, with Paul Wells and Ryan Morrow dropping to the bench and Niall Grace and the suspended Joe McCready out completely.
The home side started on the front foot and hit the woodwork on three minutes as Jerry Thompson's shot took a deflection before clipping the bar, but from Thompson's resulting right wing corner to the back post Kelly rose well and made no mistake, heading home from close range.
'Stute should have levelled things on 12 minutes but Gareth Brown missed a glorious chance when he completely missed his kick, with the goal at his mercy.
Rangers hit the crossbar for a second time, this time Stewart Nixon's in-swinging corner from the left, seemed to catch out Rory Brown, but fortunately for the keeper the ball clipped the bar before going out of play.
The home side were forced into a change just before the half-hour mark as Kyle Cherry came on for the injury William Faulkner.
Minutes later the Waterside men went close to levelling things twice in quick succession, firstly Aidan McCauley's close range strike was bravely blocked by Gerard Thompson and the 'Stute midfielder's follow-up strike was superbly kept out by keeper Aaron Hogg's left boot.
Early in the second half Rangers went close to doubling their lead as Lee Chapman's right wing cross found Thompson at the back post, but his downward header was saved by a diving Brown.
Soon after a super last ditch tackle from Conor Tourish saved Brown's blushes, as the goalkeeper's clearance on found substitute Michael Smith, but just his low shot was deflected wide by the 'Stute centre-back.
In the final quarter Dean Curry made some important tackles to deny Stewart Nixon and Smith, as the visitors pushed forward for a leveller.
Curry's day was cut short on 82 minutes as he was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box and was shown a second yellow card followed a by a red from referee Andrew Davey.
Rangers sealed the points with the resulting penalty, as Surgenor's sent Brown the wrong way and fired high into the top left hand corner.
With virtually the last kick of the game Rangers scored a stunning third goal, as 'Stute substitute Jamie McIntyre needless gave the ball away and Chapman raced clear down right before his inch perfect cross was chested down by Nixon into Smith's path, who calmly side footed home past Brown.
Both Brown and goalscorer Smith were yellow carded by Davey, after the pair clashed after the goal, which in turn resulted in a massive brawl inside the six yard box.
Carrick Rangers: Hogg, Surgenor, Rodgers, Chapman, Faulkner (Cherry 29 Hassin 72), Kelly, Nixon, Ferrin, Thompson, Keke (Smith 64), Anderson.
Institute: R Brown, Leppard, Tourish, D Curry; Tweed, McCauley, Crown, McNamee (McIntyre 84), McLaughlin; S Curry (Burke 66); G Brown (McGurk 74).
Referee: Andrew Davey (Cumber).