Football: Disappointing defeat for Dungannon Swifts in last home game

Dungannon Swifts  Terry Fitzpatrick   with Carrick Rangers  Conor Mccluskey  during their league game.
 picture by John McVitty, Enniskillen, Co.Fermanagh, N.Ireland-07771987378
Dungannon Swifts Terry Fitzpatrick with Carrick Rangers Conor Mccluskey during their league game. picture by John McVitty, Enniskillen, Co.Fermanagh, N.Ireland-07771987378

Dungannon Swifts blew an early lead as their home campaign ended in defeat and disappointment. Just as on the opening day, Carrick claiming a surprise win.

This was a result which had far more significance for an East Antrim side, who have thus taken their fight for survival to the final day. And, while it was a forgettable way to finish in front of their own fans, defeat was largely irrelevant for the Dungannon men.

They still end with eight home wins, their best tally since the league was restructured into its present 12-team format.

But, put bluntly, this was really the Swifts’ poorest performance of the season.

They led through Cormac Burke’s sixth-minute strike - his third goal in a week - only for Carrick to turn it around before halftime.

Miguel Chines wrapped up the win with a second half penalty, Dungannon defender David Armstrong admitting it was a frustrating afternoon.

“It is very disappointing because it was our last home game and we were hoping to give the fans a nice end to the season” he said.

“We’ve been on a bit of a high over the last 10 games and on a good run of form.

“We wanted to continue that today but I think Carrick were just that wee bit hungrier than us today, and we gave away silly goals.”

After beating Portadown and Ballinamallard, Dungannon were aiming for a third win in eight days.

They made a strong start, going close early on. A free-kick from Dale Montgomery picked out Ryan Harpur, and his header drew a fine fingertip save from the goalkeeper.

The Swifts went in front in the sixth minute. Jarlath O’Rourke got forward and cut the ball back to Burke, who had time to take a touch before driving into the bottom corner.

It should have been the platform for another Dungannon win.

But they failed to build on that promising start, allowing Carrick back into the game too easily.

The equalising goal, scored by Adam Salley in the 25th minute, summed up what had quickly become a careless performance.

Andy Coleman failed to claim a cross from Aaron Harmon and dropped the ball at the feet of the young striker.He lifted the ball over the goalkeeper, before firing home with a right-foot strike.

Dungannon failed to heed the wake-up call, and fell behind in the 37th minute. Harmon rose above his marker to meet a cross from Conor McCloskey, his header taking a bounce before entering the net.

Harpur went close to an equaliser, but couldn’t force home Andy Mitchell’s cross.

Then, in the second half, substitute Gary Liggett wasted a great chance. Kris Lowe received a pass from Douglas Wilson and crossed to the striker, but he didn’t get enough contact on his header.

Carrick added a third from the spot in the 69th minute. Wilson was judged to have fouled Kyle Cherry in the box, and Chines rammed home the resulting penalty.