Premiership play-off second leg: Carrick Rangers 1-3 Newry City (Agg. 3-6)

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Newry City clinch Irish Premiership promotion

Newry City have secured promotion to the Irish Premiership at the expense of Carrick Rangers after winning a dramatic promotion/relegation battle.

In a feisty encounter at Taylor's Avenue, Stephen Hughes converted a first-half penalty after Paddy McNally had given Carrick an early lead.

Mark McCabe and Mark Hughes added second-half goals to clinch a 3-1 win for City and a 6-3 aggregate victory.

It is the fourth promotion in five seasons for the Championship club.

Just six years after being forced out of business, Newry City will now be back in the top flight next season but David McAlinden's Carrick side will reflect on a series of missed chances during a frenetic second-leg.

Mark McCabe's goal put Newry into a 2-1 lead at Taylor's Avenue
Mark McCabe's goal put Newry into a 2-1 lead at Taylor's Avenue

Newry, who fought back from two goals behind in the first leg, made a lively start with Declan Carville powering a header over the crossbar.

Rangers' goalkeeper Harry Doherty was fortunate to escape with an early yellow card when he dashed out of his area but mistimed his challenge on McCabe.

The home side gradually worked their way into the game and the opening goal arrived in the 29th minute when Gavin Taggart's free kick fell kindly for McNally, who stabbed his shot into the bottom corner.

Newry equalised in controversial circumstances as McCabe was sent tumbling in the area and referee Evan Boyce immediately awarded a penalty, which was converted by Hughes.

Carrick almost regained the lead before the break but Maguire tipped Edgar's free kick onto the crossbar.

Newry City join Institute in gaining promotion from the Championship this season
Newry City join Institute in gaining promotion from the Championship this season

Newry nearly took the lead at the start of the second half when Kevin McCardle shot straight at Doherty.

The midfielder quickly made amends for his miss when he cleverly dummied the ball to allow McCabe race through on goal and the striker produced a composed finish to push City ahead.

McNally flashed a shot wide of the post and Maguire had to dive full length to divert another Edgar free around his post as Carrick furiously sought a way back into the match.

Newry were content to soak up the pressure, with Maguire proving an assured presence between the posts, before Hughes struck on the counter attack to spark wild celebrations on the touchline.

Rangers continued to battle but were unable to find a way past the visiting defence with Lee Chapman's missed header coming too late to change the outcome as the full-time whistle triggered on-field celebrations among the Newry players and travelling fans.

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