Armagh City completed the double over Queen’s in the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two on Tuesday evening last with a narrow 1-0 victory at Holm Park.
As a result, they also brought the visitor’s seven month unbeaten run in the league to an end.
Before the match the teams were locked on level points in second spot in the championship but City have now pulled three points clear of the opposition and closed to within just one of leaders PSNI.
With games in hand Armagh are now in prime position for honours but have a tough run-in to their league programme and need to keep up their winning ways.
The home side set off at a fast pace against their Belfast-based opponents and could have opened their account in the opening minute when a Stephen Murray cross from the right was dragged wide of an upright by the onrushing Shea McGerrigan.
Murray had two further opportunities to score in the opening 20 minutes but, on both occasions, dragged 12-yard shots just wide.
City kept up the pressure and looked odds-on to score when Shea McGerrigan broke into the penalty box from the left and set-up Matthew Hynds who had a low shot from eight-yards out brilliantly saved by sprawling Queen’s goalkeeper Declan Brown.
Just before the break another chance fell to Murray but the 33-goal hero this season again blasted wide.
Half-time: Armagh City 0 Queen’s 0.
After defending bravely in the opening period, Queen’s suddenly upped the pace and started to break sharply at regular periods after the break.
For the opening 20 minutes, in fact, they were the more dangerous outfit and almost took the lead through sub Daniel Hanna who just failed to get the final touch to a dangerous low cross from the right.
But Armagh again started to get a grip on the game after the 65 minute mark and a downward header from Murray almost set-up Eamon Kelly but he was denied by a last-ditch intervention from defender Paul McDonald.
Subs Kevin Keegan and Gavin McParland then almost made an immediate impact when they combined to create a chance for the latter who was deprived on the goal-line by a desperate challenge from Michael Allison.
But, with 12 minutes, City did make the vital breakthrough.
A ball launched out the left found Shea McGerrigan who quickly evaded his marker and fired a low cross into the box where it was met in style at the back-post by McParland who rifled home the winner from close range.
Moments later Armagh were denied a clear-cut penalty wheh Murray broke past a defender into the box only to be brought down by the onrushing Brown. But the claims for the spot-kick were waved away by ref Chris Morrison.
With time running out City were content to play ‘keep ball’ and this annoyed McDonald who lashed out, on 90 minutees, and was immediatley shown a red card for his indiscipline.
This was another all-round strong performance from City, with unsung utility player Paul Carvill taking the plaudits for starring initially in mid-field but also looking assured at left wing-back during the last quarter of the match, in which Hynds completed his 100th appearance for the senior side.
Armagh City: Sean Morgan, Dale Montgomery, Ryan McGerrigan (Kevin Keegan on 71), Ultan Lennon, Dara Noonan (y/c), Eamon Kelly, Paul Carvill, Liam Cullen, Stephen Murray, Matthew Hynds (Gavin McParland on 71), Shea McGerrigan (Andy Moore on 89). Subs DNP: Micky Toland, John Daly.
Queen’s: Declan Brown, Daniel Culbert (Daniel Hanna on 78), Phil Prenter (y/c), James Ferrin (y/c), Paul McDonald (red card on 90), Aaron Keenan, Michael Allison, Kevin Hagan, James Lavery, Stephen McDowell (Conor Mullholland on 45), Bertie Fulton (Aaron Thompson on 82). Subs DNP: Eamon Black, Mark Prenter.