Linfield 2-0 Carrick Rangers.
Carrick Rangers kicked off the 2017/18 Danske Bank Premiership with a 2-0 loss to League Champions Linfield at Windsor Park.

The Blues had the first chance of the afternoon as Kirk Millar drilled his corner kick low into the feet of Jordan Stewart, but the summer signing from Swindon slammed his shot high over the bar.



Rangers then had a chance of their own as Dale Malone's floated free-kick found Paddy McNally, however the defender headed straight into the arms of Roy Carroll. 



With a quarter of an hour played, the Irish Cup holders took the lead. Niall Quinn found space inside the Rangers box to fire a low strike past Harry Doherty and into the bottom corner. 



Ten minutes later Andrew Mitchell tried his luck with a curled effort from the edge of the area, but Doherty was alert to tip his effort past the post.



Recent signing Ben Roy looked to have a run at goal with half an hour played only for centre-half Mark Stafford to slide in and stop the danger.



Minutes later the lively Millar found Robert Garrett unmarked in the box, with the centre-midfielder skewing his header wide.



Linfield captain Jamie Mulgrew sent a teasing ball across the face of goal soon after but his teammates failed to make any connection.



As the first half entered its final moments, the hosts double their advantage. Quinn turned from scorer to provider as his cross was headed home by Millar, ensuring a two goal lead for Linfield at the break.



There was one change during the intermission as Fra Rice replaced Gavin Taggart in the middle of the pitch.



David Healy's men kept up the pressure as the second half start, with Quinn and Millar linking up again to nearly recreate the second goal but this time Millar headed wide.



Mitchell tried his luck moments later with another effort from distance, however Doherty held the ball comfortably.


Andrew Mooney then replaced Mikel Suarez for Carrick's second substitution to freshen up the options up top.



On the hour mark Linfield were awarded a penalty after Jordan Stewart was felled in the box by Denver Gage, and it was Stewart who dusted himself down and stepped up to the mark only to see his penalty saved by Doherty.



Seconds later Garrett span past his man and let fly, forcing Doherty into a great diving save.



10 minutes from time Lee Chapman then replaced Chris Morrow for Carrick's final substitution.



David McAlinden’s men had a great chance towards the end of the game as Chapman raced down the right side and pulled the ball back for Malone, with the midfielder hitting his shot just wide of the post.



It finished 2-0 at Windsor Park; a fair result from which Carrick can take positives from ahead of Tuesday night's meeting with Ballymena United.



Carrick Rangers: Doherty; Smyth, Gage, McNally, Edgar; Malone, Morrow (Chapman, 78), Surgenor, Taggart (Rice, 45), Roy; Suarez (Suarez, 55).



Unused substitutes: McMullan, Maybin.

updated: 12 August 2017
Ballymena United
Carrick Rangers
The Showgrounds, Ballymena
Danske Bank Premiership
Saturday 16 December 2017, kick off: 3:00pm
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