Andrew Mooney (60)

1

Denver Gage (OG) (52)

1

New Carrick boss David McAlinden guided his side to their first point of the season (Picture: William Cherry/PressEye.com)

STALEMATE AS GERS AND SKY BLUES GET FIRST POINTS

It was honours even at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena as both Carrick Rangers and Ballymena United got their first points on board.

Carrick might have snatched the early advantage when Mark Surgenor saw his effort inside the first minute tipped over by Ross Glendinning while a rasping Ben Roy drive after a quarter-of-an-hour was inches too high.

United's best chance was a Kevin Braniff curling free-kick just before the break.

The deadlock was broken in Ballymena's favour six minutes into the second half when the unfortunate Denver Gage headed into his own net whilst attempting to deal with a Tony Kane free-kick.

However, David McAlinden's side levelled on the hour through Andrew Mooney after he beat the offside trap to rush through and slot the ball past Glendinning.

And they squandered a chance to seize the lead seven minutes after that when Steven McCullough upended Surgenor inside the area only for Ben Roy to send his subsequent spot-kick wide.

BBC Sport NI coverage

Carrick Rangers: Doherty, McMullan, McNally, Gage, Edgar, Chapman, Surgenor, Roy, Clarke, Suarez, Mooney subs Taggart (replaced Chapman 80), Morrow (not used), Malone (not used), Maybin (replaced Roy 69), Trussell (replaced Suarez 61)

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Kane, Friars, Flynn, Gault, Braniff, McCloskey, Shevlin, Ervin, McCullough, McKinney subs Thompson (not used), Friel (replaced McCloskey 76), Brennan (not used), McCaffrey (replaced McKinney 80), Loughran (not used)

Referee: Lee Tavinder

Attendance: 542