Injury-time heartbreak in derby thriller

Armagh City 2 (S McGerrigan, Campbell)
Loughgall 3

A John Uprichard strike deep into injury-time was enough to see Loughgall grab all three points in a dramatic local derby at a chilly Holm Park on Boxing Day, as Dean Smith’s squad finally saw off an Armagh City side that had twice come from behind to level.

City started the livelier of the two sides, with Conor Mullen hitting the post with an early effort before Shea McGerrigan found himself through on goal from a swift counter attack, but he blazed wide of the target from outside the area.

The visitors grabbed the lead on 15 minutes with their first meaningful foray into City territory when Eoin Toal failed to clear, allowing Peter Campbell to cross from the left for Jack Upritchard to volley home an unstoppable effort at the back post.

The home side ad a golden opportunity to equalise midway through the half, but Ultan Lennon could only head straight into the arms of keep Gareth Buchanan with the goal at his mercy.

There was little action of note until moments before the break when City demonstrated their incisive counter-attacking as Mullen broke down the right before squaring perfectly for McGerrigan who made no mistake on this occasion, slotting the ball into the bottom corner to bring Armagh level at the interval.

The parity would not last long after the break, however, as Loughgall reasserted their lead almost immediately after City failed to adequately clear a set-piece, and Marcus Dallas duly took advantage with an outstanding strike from 25 yards which found the top corner of John Connolly’s goal.

City hit back immediately, though, with Mullen drifting in from the left to crash an audacious effort off the crossbar, while Jordan Bell then cracked an effort from 25 yards on the hour mark which required Buchanan to acrobatically touch the ball onto the woodwork to maintain his side’s advantage.

Marty Rice’s side piled forward in search of an equaliser, and eventually got their rewards just five minutes from time. Again, Mullen produced some good work down the right, and his pinpoint cross gave substitute Shea Campbell all the time and space he needed to head City back on level terms.

Just as it seemed like the shares would be spoiled, however, the Villagers popped up with a winner. After City failed to clear their lines from a barrage of set pieces, John Uprichard swivelled and fired the ball past Connolly to give Loughgall the derby spoils.

Armagh City: Connolly, Montgomery, Toal (Noonan), Lennon, Carvill, McSorley (Campbell), Bell, Hoey, Mallon (Kelly), S McGerrigan, Mullen. Unused subs: Graham, Rice.

Loughgall: Buchanan, Devlin, Taylor, Mallen, Elliott, Dallas, Canning, Campbell, Jack Upritchard (McAnerney), McConnell, John Uprichard. Unused subs: Stretton, Gould.

Posted in First team news

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