Carrick Rangers swooped to make a late signing before the transfer window closed on Wednesday: he is promising midfielder John Boyce – the brother of Liam, ex-Cliftonville, now Werden Bremen striker – who is opting to make the big step up from Amateur League Division One football with Immaculata to the Carling Premiership.
“He put pen to paper on Monday night and comes highly-recommended from a club which has been winning nearly everything in front of them in the Amateur League, so John will be a welcome addition to Stevie Small’s squad,” said Taylor’s Avenue chairman David Hilditch, who is happy with how the club has fitted in after just a few weeks at the top table of local football.
“I was delighted after the first three starts, getting an overdue deserved win at the third time of asking after playing very commendably in two tough opening outings, albeit having nothing to show for all-out, excellent play,” stated Hilditch, speaking ahead of the Tuesday night clash with unpredictable Ballymena United.
“Given that we hadn’t dipped into the transfer market to recruit a lot of players with senior football experience, Chris Keenan probably the only player we signed who would fit into that category, I believe that we acquitted ourselves very well in those matches.
“But I would have to say that Friday night’s trip to Dungannon didn’t maintain the same sort of contribution as the earlier games and it was very disappointing to lose 3-1, especially after leading for quite a long time at Stangmore Park.
“We played reasonably well in patches last weekend but didn’t capitalise on our early goal and, when Dungannon came at us very strongly in the latter stages, we found ourselves chasing shadows to a large degree. But I’m sure we’ll address that situation and be all the better for it.
“The good thing is that we still had teams below us after that third defeat in four games and the results to date have shown that all the teams are capable of securing points in unlikely situations – as happened on Monday night at Seaview, with Donegal Celtic surprising Crusaders,” he added.
Manager Small acknowledged that his side struggled in the concluding stages in the Tyrone encounter.
“Midway through the second half we were still in the mix but, when Dungannon upped the tempo we didn’t handle it and paid the price. That is part of the learning curve for us and we have to get ourselves up to that standard.
“We will play better, sharper teams than Dungannon and it’s crucial that we quickly get our game stepped up to the pace of Premier football,” added the former Cliftonville defender.