By David Agnew
NICS hammered Portadown 7-0 on Saturday, South powered past Ville 6-0 and Harlequins thrashed Down 6-1 – none of those results were unexpected but Armagh’s 1-1 draw with Antrim was certainly a surprise but credit must go to Robbie McMinns men:
A point won or 2 points lost that was the talk going around Ardmore after the City Side played hosts to second in the table Antrim last Saturday, and after being beaten 4 – 0 by the same team the week before Armagh were in no mood to repeat the favour.
With that all important Kirk Cup spot still up for grabs, Armagh needed to step up their game and prove to their Coach Robbie McMinn that all his hard work throughout the season is now paying off, and in the first 5 minutes of the match you would have seen a well structured team on the field and where taking the game to Antrim right from the start.
Unfortunately this style of play wasn’t to last as the game became very scrappy and the game became physical , as much as the game was scrappy Armagh where creating the better chances and went close on numerous occasions only for the Antrim keeper to deny the goal.
On 15 minutes Armagh made the break through when Gregory Croft made space in the D to drive the ball into the net, minutes later Stewart Kirkland was to go very close again finding himself free in the D unfortunately the ball was drove straight at the keeper.
Antrim rarely got through the Armagh defence in the first half however on three occasions it took scrappy defending to clear the ball from around the Armagh goal area, when a touch could have put the ball in the Armagh net. Half Time Armagh 1 Antrim 0.
The second half was to become very physical with cards getting shown right around the field, Armagh continued to make the better chances and the Antrim team was relying on breakaways. Armagh started to win the Penalty Corner tally but they weren't clicking and the Antrim keeper seemed to have all areas covered, Antrim where just as bad as most of the Penalty Corners where hit wide and didn’t trouble the Armagh goal.
Half way through the half Antrim where reduced to ten men for a bad challenge, the advantage Armagh had was short lived as it was levelled up when Davy Warnock was then Sin Binned minutes later. Armagh continued to penetrate the Antrim goal, Kirkland, Bell, Mark Brown, Andy Brown, Warnock, Hutton Warnock and Croft all had chances to finish Antrim off, however poor finishing and the Antrim Keeper made sure the score line remained at 1-0.
Disaster then happened to the City Side and it was their own doing with ten minutes left on the clock and looking to pull off a shock result Paul English played the ball from a Hit out straight to an Antrim forward who played his colleague in, who rounded the Armagh keeper and slotted the ball home.
1-1 was not the end of the day and if you where to ask anyone of the Armagh squad would they have taken a 1-1 at the start, they would have bitten your hand off, however it could of and should of been so much more, but also they could have lost it right at the end as Antrim had two glorious chances to win the match.
The match ended with a Red and Yellow card two minutes from time and they where both handed out to Antrim reducing them to 9 men, however there was not enough time for Armagh to produce a grand stand finish and the game ended Armagh 1 Antrim 1.
In the days only Senior Two game Ballynahinch kept the pressure on PSNI and Campbellians with a 3-1 win over Portrush.
Sussex Regiment Cup
Larne left it late but defeated Ballymena in dramatic fashion when they scored the silver goal in the last minute of extra time (3-2 it finished). They will be joined in the next round by Campbellians who knocked out Parkview winning 2-1 despite missing several key players.
***And finally….one person from each senior league club has got my mobile number. It would be a massive help if you could send through scores, goal scorers and brief match details after every game. Many thanks***