Stewart Nixon (18)
Stewart Nixon (20)
Stewart Nixon (64p)

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Stewart Nixon helped himself to a hat-trick (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)

NIXON BAGS HAT-TRICK AS CARRICK SWEEP TO VICTORY

Stewart Nixon was the hat-trick hero as Carrick Rangers picked up a crucial three points with victory over Warrenpoint Town at Milltown.

The 22-year-old opened the scoring on 18 minutes when he pounced on a short backpass from Evan White to beat 'Point keeper Evan Moran one-on-one.

Then, just a couple of minutes after that, he finished in similar fashion after William Faulkner had slipped the ball into his path despite Moran's best efforts to keep the shot out.

And it got worse for bottom of the table Warrenpoint midway through the first half following Dermot McVeigh's dismissal for a challenge on Nixon whilst the ball was out of play.

Carrick might have extended their advantage late in the first half only for Lloyd Anderson's overhead kick to be pushed over by Moran while, at the other end, Brandon Doyle was denied only by the trailing leg of Carrick keeper Aaron Hogg.

Nixon came close to securing his hat-trick early in the second half but was thwarted by a goalline clearance but, just after the hour, he did make it 3-0 from the spot after Eamon Scannell was penalised for handball.

Remarkably, Nixon had the ball in the net for a fourth time moments later but this finish from Guillaume Keke's cross was ruled out offside, with another effort later in the game dropping wide of the post after James Ferrin delivered a cross.

Warrenpoint Town: Moran, White, Reilly, McVeigh, O'Sullivan, Doyle, Forde, Lynch, C. O'Connor Wallace, Donnelly subs Turker (not used), Bennett (not used), Smith (replaced White 35), Prendergast (replaced Forde 77), Scannell (replaced C. O'Connor 35), O'Kane (not used)

Carrick Rangers: Hogg, Neale, Surgenor, Rodgers, Chapman, Faulkner, D. Kelly, Nixon, Ferrin, Smith, Anderson subs McAuley (not used), Carson (not used), Loughran (not used), Sanusi (replaced Nixon 84), McDermott (not used), Keke (replaced Smith 59), Hassin (replaced Faulkner 72)

Referee: Raymond Crangle

Attendance: 89