Armagh City were unfortunate not to take something out of their Holm Park clash with Belfast Telegraph Championship One leaders Harland and Wolff Welders on Saturday.
They deserved at least a point against their well drilled and hard working Belfast opponents but were denied by some dubious refereeing decisions.
City seemed to have won an iron clad penalty on eight minutes when Welders ‘keeper Michael Dougherty received a yellow-card for upending the flying Shea McGerrigan. The Armagh winger looked to have been at least a yard inside the box but, instead, a free-kick was given on the edge of the 18-yard line and this came to nothing.
This score would have been against the run of play, however, as it was the visitors who started much the brighter and ruled the roost both in midfield and up front.
The Belfast side unfortunately lost the services through injury of Scott Davidson on 20 minutes but replacement Mark Maginess came on and made an impact throughout.
The Welders had two clear-cut scoring chances early on, with the best falling to the luckless Michael McLellan, while the experienced David Rainey was a constant threat for the visitors.
As the half progressed City fiound their feet and Stephen Murray, Philip Donnelly and Eamon Kelly all had half-chances but, to be fair, the solid Dougherty was rarely troubled.
Half-time: Armagh City 0 H and W Welders 0.
Just after the break a lightening raid by City resulted in Ardy Moore heading the ball across the Welder’s six-yard box and Murray swooping to blast home. But an assistant referee raised his flag to rule the efort off-side much to the home team’s annoyance.
Immediately, the Belfast side hit back and went close again at the back-post. This warning was not heeded and, on 60 minutes, Armagh paid the price.
A ball into the box found Ryan Deans who swivelled and fired a low shot into the opposite corner of the net just eluding City stopper Niall Geoghegan.
After this score City found their best form and set up a series of dangerous attacking raids.
And their efforts seemed to have paid off on 77 minutes when Shea McGerrigan blasted a low shot under Dougherty to find the back of the net. But, once again, the same assistant ref raised his flag for off-side and what seemed a good goal was wiped out for the second time.
Harland and Wolff, however, held out for the win, with most of the plaudits going to their impressive central defensive partnership of William Armstrong and Paul Dickson.