Caio Lobo holding off a challenge
ARMAGH City welcomed Banbridge Town to Holm Park last Friday night in a bid to get back on track after several narrow defeats but the news on the team wasn't great as no fewer than four central defenders were ruled out for various reasons.
This meant manager Joe Kerr had to draft two midfielders into the defence namely Eoin Fields and Ciao Lobo while forward Jack Clarke back after being out since before Christmas was on the bench.
The game started brightly with both sides probing for an opening but early in the half Jake Keegan was injured and Clarke was brought on to replace him adding another name to the injury list.Town were awarded a free out on the left but Danny Devine in the home goal got a good fist on the ball to punch clear surrounded by a circle of players and after a break by City Clarke shot wide.
On 35 minutes the visitors took the lead after a free was awarded just outside the penalty box and Steven Taggart sent a vicious shot past Devine in the home goal but two mins later City were back on level terms after a free kick was played in to the Town defence and John Uprichard got a touch to score his first goal for the club.Both sides pushed hard to gain the advantage going in at half but the score remained the same as the referee blew for half time.
City started on the front foot in the second half and were awarded a penalty two minutes after the restart but Uprichard’s spot kick saw the Town keeper get the merest of touches to concede a corner to the dismay of of the home support and from the resultant corner the visitors managed to clear their lines and keep the goal intact.
Both sides went all out to gain advantage and one feature was the sterling work carried out by Fields and Lobo in taking care of the Town attackers as the pressure mounted and although small in stature Lobo won quite a few aerial battles against taller opponents.
Stefan McKenna suffered a knock and was replaced by Matthew Hynds on the hour mark as play ebbed from end to end but on 75 mins after a Town attack was thwarted Paudie Judge cleared to Andy Wilson who made progress down the left flank leaving two defenders in his wake,cut along the bye line and sent in a low cross into the six yard box for Nedos Miciulaitis to rifle the ball home putting City into the lead.
The same player broke through moments later but his shot was on his weaker right foot and went wide as the home side tried to finish the game off.
In one attack Town looked like they had equalised as a shot beat Devine but up popped Lobo to head clear and save the day for Armagh but four mins from the 90 Banbridge made their way down the right side and the low cross was met by Taggart who scored his and Town’s second goal to level the score at 2-2.
Miciulaitis the came off for Edilson Tavares and despite over five mins injury time being played neither side could net a winner with the game finishing all square leaving City to rue missing a penalty but overall a draw was probably a fair result in a game which saw both sides give 100% .and put on an entertaining show for the spectators.
This week City are again in action on Friday night when the visitors to Holm Park are Lisburn Distillery with the kick off once more 7.45 PM and this is Armaghs last home game before the league splits into top and bottom six.
Armagh City Line Up
Devine Kerr Fields Lobo Courtney Judge Keegan(Clarke) McKenna(Hynds) Maciulaitis(Tavares) Uprichard Wilson
Subs not used Huston Larkin(gk)