Armagh City 0
Armagh City grabbed their first point of the new season in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League with a hard-fought scoreless draw at Wilgar Park on Saturday.
Facing a well-fancied Dundela side featuring a number of players with considerable top flight experience, Joe Kerr’s young side produced a superb team performance to bring a hard-earned point back to Holm Park.
City were without Luke Grimley and Simon Smyth, with Caio Lobo and Mark Lucas drafted into the starting lineup.
Dundela started brightly, shifting the ball with good pace and threatening the City defence from the opening whistle. Daniel Burns and Dee McMaster had an early effort go awry for the home side, before Gary Irwin clipped the post inside the opening 10 minutes.
The early onslaught was slowed as the Eagles began to grow into the game, with Caio Lobo asserting himself against Duns target-man Mark McClelland.
City threatened for the first time midway through the half when a good ball from Thai Blevins put Jack Clarke free down the right before he squared to Steafan McKenna who was thwarted by home ‘keeper McBride.
The Duns continued in the ascendency for most of the half but without City keeper Danny Devine being called into action.
Matthew Hynds almost broke the deadlock for City just before the interval when he sent a thunderous left-footed effort on goal from 30 yards, only to see the ball hit the underside of the bar. The rebound fell to McKenna who couldn’t adjust in time to get his shot on target and the sides went in at the interval on level terms.
Dundela came out with renewed vigour after they break as they looked to turn chances into goals.
Ben Murdock had a golden chance to open the scoring just before the hour mark, as he timed his run to meet an in-swinging corner from the left but could only cushion the ball into Devine’s hands.
The young City ‘keeper had to be alert just two minutes later when McMaster put Jordan Hughes through on goal but Devine was out smartly to clear the danger.
With a quarter of an hour remaining it looked like McMaster had opened the scoring when his right-wing cross looked destined for the net but Conor Kerr was on hand to head clear at the back post.
Manager Joe Kerr introduced fresh legs in the form of Edilson Tavares and Ernestus Verenka to offer an outlet as the impressive shifts across the team began to show.
Murdock had a second chance from a set-piece with just 5 minutes remaining, but this time he blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
In the end it was City with the final assault on goal of the game, as Verenka released Tavares down the left. The youngster went down under a challenge from King but the referee waved play on to the frustration of the Armagh side.
A point, however, was just rewards for a City side that battled manfully throughout the game. Caio Lobo produced a dominant performance in the heart of the defence, while Lucas impressed in midfield on his first start, but overall manager Joe Kerr could point to strong shifts across the board.
City have no game on Saturday having received a bye in the Bob Radcliffe Cup, so are back in action on Saturday 2 September when Annagh United visit Holm Park in the Premier Intermediate League, kick-off 3pm.
City: Danny Devine, Conor Kerr, Daniel Courtney, Leo Monteiro, Caio Lobo, Mark Lucas, Matthew Hynds, Jack Clarke, Micheal O’Hehir, Thai Blevins, Steafan McKenna. Subs not used: Charles Jones Jr, Wilson Tavares, Ewan Buchanan.