Irish Premiership: Carrick Rangers now bottom after last-gasp defeat by Portadown
Portadown snatched a last-gasp 2-1 win at Carrick to send the home side to the bottom of the Irish Premiership table as Warrenpoint beat Ballymena and Ballinamallard lost to stay in trouble.
Garry Breen's 89th-minute goal earned the Ports a vital win which now leaves them six points ahead of Carrick.
Stephen Murray's hat-trick helped Warrenpoint beat Ballymena 4-1 as Michael Ruddy's red card was crucial.
Ballinamallard conceded two late goals to lose 4-2 at Dungannon.
Warrenpoint's victory moved them one point above bottom-placed Carrick and Barry Gray's side are now only a point behind the 10th-placed Mallards.
Both Carrick and Portadown looked decidedly nervous in the first half at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena as scarcely a chance was created.
However, the Ports took the lead on 58 minutes as Chris Casement netted a penalty after the impressive Michael Gault was bundled over in the area.
Mark Surgenor headed Carrick level three minutes later and Miguel Chines then hit the Portadown woodwork from a free-kick before going close again moments later.
A draw would have been enough to have kept Carrick off the bottom on goal difference but Breen's late winner ensured a first victory for interim Ports boss Pat McGibbon.
Murray hat-trick helps Warrenpoint move off bottom
Stephen Murray's hat-trick helped Warrenpoint move off the bottom of the table as they came from behind to beat 10-man Ballymena United at Milltown.
After Warrenpoint had a strong penalty shout turned down when David Cushley tangled with Martin Murray, United took the lead on 23 minutes as Willie Faulkner pounced to lob over Johnny Parr after a weak back-header from Stephen Moan.
However Murray levelled two minutes after the break after Alan Blayney had saved his initial shot and Warrenpoint took the lead on 57 as Murray slotted a penalty after he had been brought down by Ruddy, who was red carded for the foul.
As Warrenpoint exploited their player advantage, Johnny McMurray extended their lead on 72 and Murray completed his hat-trick with a superb lobbed effort two minutes later.
Ballinamallard stay in trouble after Dungannon defeat
Ballinamallard are only two points above bottom-placed Carrick after late goals by Cormac Burke and Gary Liggett saw the Fermanagh club slip to a 4-2 defeat by Dungannon Swifts.
Ryan Campbell put the Mallards ahead in the 19th minute but Dungannon pressure was eventually rewarded as Ally Teggart levelled on 62 minutes.
Substitute Burke's first goal of the night on 70 put Dungannon ahead but the Mallards looked to have snatched a point when Adam Lecky headed to the Swifts net five from minutes from time.
However, Burke restored Dungannon's lead on 87 after the Swifts had failed to clear an Andy Mitchell shot and Gary Liggett sealed the home win in injury-time after being set up by Burke.
What's next in the relegation battle?
The battle at the bottom of the table will continue on Saturday as Carrick travel to safe Dungannon, Warrenpoint Town host Portadown and Ballinamallard journey to the Ballymena Showgrounds.
The final round of fixtures a week later will see Carrick Rangers hosting Ballinamallard, Warrenpoint at home to Dungannon and Portadown travelling to Ballymena.
|Danske Bank Irish Premiership - Results|
|Dungannon Swifts||4-2||Ballinamallard Utd|
|Warrenpoint Town||4-1||Ballymena Utd|