IRISH LEAGUE: First point for Carrick new boss Aaron Callaghan in draw with Glenavon

Carrick's TJ Murray with Glenavon's Mark Sykes

Carrick's TJ Murray with Glenavon's Mark Sykes

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CARRICK RANGERS 0 GLENAVON 0

New Carrick manager Aaron Callaghan claimed his first league point with a gritty 0-0 draw against Glenavon at Taylor’s Avenue.

In spite of the heavy rain the pitch held up well allowing for some good free flowing football. And, although it was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides, it was Carrick who had the first real opportunity to open the scoring with 12 minutes played. The ball broke kindly to Adam Salley on the half way line, he raced forward ahead of the trailing defenders but with just Jonny Tuffey to beat the young striker, a loanee from Linfield, fired wide of the mark when he should really have done better.

Kieran Martyn then had a great opportunity for the Luragn Blues as they dominated possession but the midfielder was unable to finish. However, the miss of the half fell to Eoin Bradley just minutes later when midfielder Andy Hall played a dangerous ball across the box but the Glenavon striker somehow side footed wide with the goal at his mercy.

Immediately after the interval, Bradley had two further clear cut chances in as many minutes but both efforts, although well struck, were well saved by home keeper Brian Neeson.

Player manager Gary Hamilton came on for the profligate Bradley with 20 minutes remaining but he couldn’t inspire his side. And with just 15 minutes remaining Glenavon were reduced to 10 men when Andrew Doyle was given a straight red against his old club. Carrick pushed for a winner after the dismissal and they almost got it in the closing minutes when Martin Murray’s free kick was floated in to the back post. Home skipper Mark Surgenor was unmarked, and just five yards from goal, but he headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Martyn then had ah half chance at the other end but he too headed wide of Neeson’s upright, and the visitors held on for the point.

Carrick: Neeson 8, McKeown 6 (McNicholl 62, 6), Taggart 7, Surgenor 7, Hanley 6 (Morrow 68,6), Chapman 6, Rice 6, TJ Murray 6, McCullough 6, Murray 6, Salley 6

Subs: Wilson, Morrell, Waide

Glenavon: Tuffey 7, Lindsay 6, Doyle 5, Marshall 6, Hall 6 (Patton 82,6), Sykes 6, Martyn 7, McGrory 6, Braniff 6 (Bates 6, 60), McCourt 6, Bradley 6 (Hamilton 69, 6)

Subs: Neill, Kilmartin, Patton

Referee: Mr Ian McNabb (Carrickfergus)