Armagh City 2 (S McGerrigan, Mullen)
H&W Welders 2
This match had a bit of everything, with a questionable penalty award, a debatable sending off and an equaliser for City in the dying seconds of the match.
The opening minutes brought early pressure from the visitors which caused some uncertainty in a City defence which was fortunate to survive on a couple of occasions as they failed to clear their lines properly.
The first serious effort on goal came after ten minutes when a Paul Carvill effort went just past the angle of crossbar and post. The match became a midfield and it wasn’t until the 20th minute that the visitors’ Ethan Boylan almost broke clear but John Connolly was sharply off his line to thwart the striker. Minutes later a superb Dale Montgomery strike came crashing off keeper Samuel Johnston’s left hand post at the other end. Almost immediately the Welders went down the field and a Scott McMillan effort from long range went wide of the target.
Just before the half hour mark the visitors were awarded a penalty for a high foot in the area and David Rainey step up to dispatch the penalty and give the visitors the lead. Things got worse for the home side just over a minute later when Ultan Lennon was shown a straight red when he was he was rather harshly adjudged to have denied a goal scoring opportunity just outside the area when it looked as if he had actually made contact with the ball.
For the remainder of the half the visitors were well on top but failed to make their numerical advantage count as City struggled to get any foothold in the match.
Despite being a man short it was the home side that came out for the second half on the front foot. City should have equalised in the 51st minute when Connor Mullen broke clear of the Welders defence only to skew his shot wide of the target with only the keeper to beat. Two minutes later the sides were level, as Shea McGerrigan latched onto a long ball and coolly chipped it over the advancing keeper to make it 1-1.
The home side continued to have the upper hand with a Philip Donnelly shot going narrowly wide before a Mullen header went over and then a Donnelly header from an excellent Dale Montgomery cross went wide of the target.
The Welders introduced substitutes McLellan and McKee in an effort to regain their advantage and from a corner 15 minutes from time Michael McLellan rose unchallenged to head the visitors back into the lead.
To their credit, City’s ten men came back strongly with a Mullen header from yet another Montgomery cross going just going wide.
Ten minutes from time John Connolly had to come to the rescue of the home side when he came out to block a Boylan effort after he had got clear of the City defence. Marty Rice’s side continued to press for a second equaliser and Johnston made a smart save from another Montgomery long range effort before a Shea Campbell shot went over the crossbar moments later.
As the match went into the last minute of added-on time City were awarded a free kick which was met by Mullen who found the back of the net to give his side a well-deserved share of the points.
Team: Connolly, Montgomery, Toal, Lennon, Carvill, Hoey (Campbell), Bell, Donnelly, Mallon, S McGerrigan, Mullen. Subs not used: Grimley, Verenka, Graham.