Dundela 4 Armagh City 0
An understrength Armagh City team suffered a heavy defeat to a rampant Dundela at Wilgar Park on Saturday.
Missing three players through suspension, and another who was unavailable, the visitors were put on the back-foot straight from the kick-off. The Duns opened their account in the second minute when an inch-perfect pass found the lively Hunter and his 12-yard shot curled into the net after ‘keeper Sean Morgan’s strong touch just failed to divert the ball to safety.
After this initial set-back Armagh began to settle and controlled the next 20 minutes of the match without really being threatening. Their best chance at this stage fell to Gavin Cusack but he just failed to apply the finishing touch. But, just as City seemed to have a foothold in the match, they conceded a second score. Following a corner on 23 minutes the ball was headed into the six-yard box and Brian Cardwell was the firsrt to react, firing a close range effort into the roof of the Armagh net.
The game was as good as over 11 minutes later when luckless City defender Michael O’Neill could only succeed in heading the ball past his own ‘keeper as he tried to clear following another dangerous Dundela attack.
Although 3-0 down at the interval, there was still the faintest hope that Armagh could strike back in the match. They started stronger after the break, although, to be fair, had little to show for all their efforts. The home side seemed content to soak up the possession and stifle the Armagh raids, and then strike on the counter, and this they did in magnificent style on the hour.
The ball eventually fell to Graham Aston who left fly from 25-yards, only for Morgan to be deceived as the ball took a wicket bounce in front of him before finding the corner of the net. This was a most unfortunate score and marred a brilliant display by the Armagh stopper.
During the match, he pulled off three magnificent saves to keep Dundela at bay. The most notable was a dazzling one-handed effort which diverted a rasping 20-yard effort around an upright to safety.
Other to impress for City were second-half substitute Dara Noonan at centre-back and midfielder Gavin Cusach who battled hard throughout. Another interesting sub late in the match was veteran striker Darren Bruce, making his first City senior appearance of the season. He had Armagh’s best scoring opportunity on 85 minutes but managed to knock his powerful header over the opposition crossbar.
A severe dent to City’s Championship ambitions, the local players will have to put this defeat behind them quickly as they welcome derby rivals Annagh to Holm Park this Saturday, November 19, kick-off 3pm.