City got their home league campaign off to a winning start when they recorded an impressive win over a strong Dergview side at Holm Park on Saturday.
The home side had a chance to go ahead in the opening minute when Stefan Lavery, making his debut following his recent arrival from Dungannon Swifts, had his attempt saved by Dergview keeper Jack Boggs.
The opening quarter hour was a lively affair with both sides showing attacking intent. It was City however who came closest to breaking the deadlock when a Marty Havern free-kick crashed against the crossbar and was cleared to safety by the relieved visitors’ defence.
The Eagles took a deserved lead in the 19th minute when Eamon Kelly rose well in the box to powerfully head home from a corner.
The visitors always looked a threat and just over 10 minutes later they levelled the game after the City defence failed to clear a ball and it eventually fell to Nathan Cashel on the edge if the area and he fired an unstoppable shot past John Connolly in the home goal.
Despite the best efforts of both side there was no further scores before the interval though the pace and strength of the Dergview front line caused the City defence difficulties on a number of occasions. City had a penalty appeal turned away moments before the break when Lavery appeared to be sandwiched in the box.
HT: Armagh City 1-1 Dergview
The home side came out at the start of the second half with renewed determination with Havern flashing a shot over in the opening minute, while great link up play with Lavery saw Havern just fail to get on the end of the former Swifts player’s final pass.
The visitors continued to carry a threat on the break but failed to cause any real danger to Connolly’s goal.
City brought on Shea Campbell and Andrew Hoey for Lavery and Donnelly and almost immediately Campbell found himself in on goal but the ball ran away from him when decently position.
With just over a quarter of an hour to go the visitors had a superb chance to take the lead when an excellent through ball found Ryan Mayse who controlled it well and got clear of the home defence only to push his shot well wide of Connolly’s left hand post.
Within a minute it was City who took the lead when an excellent through ball from Kelly found Havern and the striker found the back of the Dergview net from 12 yards.
A couple of minutes later the result was put beyond doubt when Dara Noonan pushed the ball home from close range following a corner when he capitalised on a fumble by visitors’ keeper Boggs.
City dominated the closing period of the game with Hoey, Havern and Campbell all keeping the visitors’ defence on their toes, though they couldn’t find a fourth goal.
In the end it proved to be an excellent three points against a very good side, as City got the season up and running after a disappointing first game a week ago.
Team: John Connolly, Jordan Bell, Luke Grimley, Dara Noonan, Gary Lawless, Ryan McGerrigan, Eamon Kelly, Liam Cullen, Philip Donnelly, Marty Havern, Stefan Lavery. Subs: Shea Campbell for Stefan Lavery, Andrew Hoey for Philip Donnelly, David Masterson for Liam Cullen, Not Used: Conor McAnallen.