Misfiring City fall further behind
Thursday, 23 March 2017
WITH just five games left in the NIFL Championship side, Armagh City look like they could face a promotion/relegation play-off to secure their place in the second tier.
Armagh City ...0
Marty Rice's side went in to Saturday's crunch clash with 10th place Knockbreda knowing that victory would leave them just one point behind Garth Scates' side with five games to go.
However, it was an afternoon of frustration for the Holm Park outfit, who dominated most of the play and indeed at the better of the chances, but failed to punish the Upper Braniel outfit and in the end they ran out 1-0 winners and extended the gap to seven points with five games remaining.
Despite the disappointment of failing to hold on for all three points a week earlier against Larne, City were on the offensive right from the start at Breda Park.
In the opening minutes the visitors won a series of corners as the home side struggled to cope with the good interplay from the City front line of Blevins, Mullen and Camera.
The home defence had to resort to a number of last ditch tackles to keep their goal intact.
Home 'keeper Paul Cairnduff came to Knockbreda's rescue midway through the half when he pulled off an excellent save from a Conor Mullen effort.
The City midfield were dominating that area of the game with Kelly, Montgomery and Hynds winning good ball for the forwards.
Jasir Camara just failed to make good contact with an excellent Conor Kerr cross from the right.
Ten minutes from the break the home side were awarded a free kick out wide and Stephen Cockcroft's excellent cross was met by Ryan Arthur who looped his header over City keeper Connolly to give Knockbreda the lead completely against the run of play with their first effort on goal in the match.
Shea Campbell had a half chance to equalise minutes later but his effort from an acute angle was blocked and when the ball rebounded back to him him his second effort went wide of the target.
Just before the break John Connolly made a good stop as the home side threaten to add to their lead.
The second half still saw City do most of the attacking with the home side soaking up the pressure and being restricted to a number of counter attacks.
A few minutes into the half Conor Mullen did well on the left and put in a superb cross which Cairnduff just took off the head of the inrushing Camara.
On fifteen minutes Cairnduff made a brilliant save as he tipped a superb Shea Campbell free kick onto the crossbar and out for a corner.
From the resultant corner Johnny McSorley fired an effort wide.
City continued to have the better of the chances with Conor Mullen having his own personal dual with 'keeper Cairnduff who pulled off a number of excellent stops, but as the game wore on it became apparent that it was not going to be City's day.
Team: Connolly, Kerr, Toal, Hutchinson, Campbell, Hynds, Montgomery, Kelly, Blevins, Camara, Mullen Subs: McSorley replaced Hynds, Mallon replaced Blevins. Not Used: Verenka, Rice
City are away to Annagh this Saturday as they move into the final five matches of the season.
With Annagh having lost on Saturday their chances of catching City have all but mathematically disappeared.
Kick off at Tandragee Road is 3.00pm.
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