H&W Welders 1-1 Armagh City
Armagh City travelled to Tillysburn Park in Belfast on Saturday, looking to follow up an impressive win at the same venue back in April.
Marty Rice’s side got off to the perfect start when, with just 4 minutes on the clock, Sean Mallon bundled the ball over the line from Shea McGerrigan’s corner. The home side protested that the ball hadn’t crossed the line, but the assistant referee had no reservations and immediately signalled a goal for City.
The young Eagles were buoyed by the early goal and continued to press forward with the nippy front trio of Donnelly, Havern and McGerrigan though without carving any real openings.
The home side, who had started the season with two impressive league wins, soon came into the game with Rainey and McClellan looking threatening, though without really taxing Connolly in the City goal.
Jordan Bell fired a long range effort from the right wing goalward on the half-hour mark which had Dougherty in the home goal scrambling to turn the ball around the post, while Marty Havern fired a free-kick from 30 yards but failed to test the keeper.
The Welders got back on level terms with just four minutes remaining in the half, when good work on the left dragged City’s defenders out of position to allow Rainey to head home from close range.
The home side came out strongest to start the second half, though without really forcing any efforts on goal, while City found themselves mostly relying on counter-attacks. A midfield battle ensued for much of the second half while heavy rain teemed down, with the familiar pairing of Liam Cullen and Eamon Kelly doing strong work to make life difficult for the home side.
Manager Rice introduced Stefan Lavery and Shea Campbell to the attack in an attempt to get a winner, but City struggled to get them the ball in dangerous positions.
The Welders piled forward in the dying minutes, forcing several corners and throw-ins in attacking positions, and while sub Josh Cahoon fired one dangerous effort over the bar, the young City defence held out impressively to take home a well-deserved point against one of the division’s fancied sides.
Armagh City: John Connolly, Jordan Bell (Gary Lawless), Luke Grimley, Dara Noonan, Conor McAnallen, Sean Mallon, Liam Cullen, Eamon Kelly, Philip Donnelly (Shea Campbell), Marty Havern, Shea McGerrigan (Stefan Lavery). Sub not used: Andy Moore.