Sports

Armagh secure morale-boosting win

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Armagh secure morale-boosting win thumbnail An Armagh player fires a shot towards goal from the edge of the 'D'.

ARMAGH warmed up for their Linden Cup final with their final league game of 2016 and having not taken any league points in the month of November, the home side were keen to build some momentum ahead of the final on New Year's Day.

ARMAGH 1ST XI ...5
PORTRUSH 1ST XI ...2

The home side got off to the worst possible start when Portrush took the lead against the run of play after some poor Armagh defending.

The home side were quick to lift their game and equalised after some good play from Callum Reddick on the left opened up space on the edge of the 'D' where he found Callum Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick was left one on one with the goalkeeper and he made no mistake as he lofted ball into the back of the net.

Armagh were now on the front foot, but another mistake on the edge of the Portrush 'D' saw the visitors claim back possession and they raced down the other end and regained the lead with a swift counter attack.

The home side tried to take control of the game, but despite making some inroads into the Portrush defence, they were denied by the young Portrush goalkeeper, who made some incredible saves.

Eventually, Armagh's pressure paid off and a drag flick from Matty Gray was saved, but Phillip Hutton was on hand to slot home the rebound.

Minutes later it was 3-2, when Gray cleverly switched the ball from a short corner and Matthew Russell flicked it home to give Armagh a one goal lead at the break.

Coach Gary McIlroy urged his senior players to assert their control on the game and stamp their authority on the second half

And they did exactly that when Jordan Wright made a great tackle before finding Michael Wilson.

Wilson played the ball to Gray out wide and he beat his marker before exchanging passes with Callum Reddick.

Gray pounced on to the pass and rounded the 'keeper before slotting against the empty backboards.

In the closing stages, both teams slowed the tempo of the game right down, but it was Armagh that had the final say as Hutton latched onto a reversed short corner and glided past two players before hammering past the goalkeeper.

This 5-2 win was exactly what Armagh needed before their big date with destiny in the Linden Cup on New Year's Day.

They will travel to Deramore Park now with the hope of building upon this win and look to bring the trophy back to Ardmore.

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