City Set New Record With Portstewart Win

ARMAGH City set a new club record with their sixth consecutive win in the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two over Portstewart at Holm Park on Saturday.
Previously their best start to a season was five wins and a draw set away back in their Mid-Ulster Division days – then named Milford Everton – some 39 years ago!
And, as a result, the Holm Park side sit proudly on top-of-the-table – three points clear of their nearest rivals Knockbreda.
This win over Portstewart was always on the cards as City began strongly but just failed to take advantage of their early dominance.
In fact, their first real clear-cut opportunity came after 20 minutes when striker Stephen Murray turned sharply on the edge of the opposition box and beat ‘keeper Joel Madison with a dipping volley. However, the crossbar came to Portstewart’s rescue as the ball bounced to safety.
Almost immediately a cross from the left by the superb Shea McGerrigan just eluded the outstretched legs of Ryan McShane at the back-post.
But, on 22 minutes, Armagh eventually reaped the benefit of their attacking play. The ball was whipped into the penalty box from a Shea McGerrigan corner and captain Liam Cullen timed his leap to perfection to head home powerfully passed the outstretched Madison.
Armagh could have increased their lead on the half-hour mark when centre-back Dara Noonan fired the ball just over the Portstewart crossbar following another set-piece play.
During the opening period the Portstewart back-four were constantly stretched by the rampant City side but, to be fair, they managed to stem the tide, backed up by the impressive Madison.
Half-time: Armagh City 1 Portstewart 0.
After the break the same pattern of play was established – with City pushing forward at every opportunity – particularly down the left flank where Shea McGerrigan proved unplayable. His darting runs and dangerous crosses had the Portstewart defence in sixes-and-sevens throughout the match.
It came as no surprise then when Armagh added to their tally after 49 minutes.
Once again McGerrigan left his opposite number Conor Ferguson in his wake as he drove the ball to the bye-line and then hit a superb low cross into the box where the ball was met by the onrushing Matthew Hynds whose powerful shot thundered into the corner of the Portstewart net.
Ten minutes later the McGerrigan/Cullen partnership almost led to a third goal. But, on this occasion, the team captain could not direct his strong header on goal.
Moments later Gavin Cusack could have made a name for himself but his superb effort just fell by the wayside.
On 75 minutes a rare foray into the box by City centre-back Johnny Walker almost paid off but his header cannoned off an upright before being hastily cleared by the under pressure Portstewart defence.
Further chances followed for the home side, with a fine effort from sub Barry Quinn being brilliantly saved by the alert Madison.
In the end Portstewart – who never dropped their heads under the onslaught – held on to lose by just 2-0.
There were several fine performances from Armagh players, with the back-four solid throughout. Walker and Ultan Lennon were outstanding, while Cullen was walking tall in midfield throughout. However, it was Shea McGerrigan who stole the show with a fabulous display of forward play which left his opposition defenders bewildered!
This Saturday, October 6, Armagh will probably play their toughest opposition, to date, when they take on Lurgan Celtic away from home in the last-eight of the Bob Radcliffe Cup tournament.
Armagh City: Sean Morgan, Ultan Lennon, Ryan McGerrigan (Paul Carville on 75), Dara Noonan, Johnny Walker, Matthew Hynds (Miceal McKenna on 65), Ryan McShane (Barry Quinn on 76), Liam Cullen, Stephen Murray, Gavin Cusack, Shea McGerrigan. Subs not used: John Daly.
Portstewart: Joel Madison, Conor Ferguson, Stephen Watson, Andrew White, Craig Ramsey, Dean Murray, Archie Quinn (Jonathan Gawne on 65), Danny Austin, Richard Dunlop, Owen Moody, Che Bradley. Subs not used: Gary Taylor.

Posted in First team news

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