Today saw the boys travel to Holm Park with a very threadbare squad to meet Armagh City in the quarter finals of the knock out cup. With only 12 players available it was a day for square pegs in round holes with top goalscorer Spencer Young taking one for the team by putting on the gloves in place of the injured James Hamilton. City found themselves with a couple of early probes in behind the backline in the early stages of the game but Town got into their stride and began to match Armagh all over the park. It was shaping up to be a good game with both teams backwards and forwards looking for the opener. Ben Cullen put a couple of great balls deep into the Armagh box, one from a free kick and the other from a corner but unfortunately Town couldn’t make the most of them. City did find the net with only a few minutes left in the half, when a town defender won the ball cleanly about 25 yards from goal but the referee pulled it back for a City free kick. The Armagh player went for goal with a shot that bounced about 4 yards out from goal, Spencer Young had his line of vision blocked and the ball tucked in just around the inside of the post. It was very unfortunate for the stand in keeper who had been exceptional all half.
The second half continued just as the first had with both sides in search of goals. Ben Cullen had to be withdrawn for a while due to a knock he took in the latter stages of the first half and was a big miss in the midfield for that period, but the boys plugged away and a change of shape seemed to bring fresh hope of an equaliser, unfortunately though it was not to be. When a city player was allowed to pick the ball up in the centre of the park and gifted 15 yards of clear space to run he made the most of it culminating in a thunderous drive right at the Town keeper who could only palm it away, the Armagh striker was quickest to react picking up the lose ball and putting into the net. Following this came a period of uncomfortable watching with Town losing their way for a bit at times struggling to do the basics right and by the time this settled down again the match was all but over. The game finished up 2-0 to City and they progress to the semi finals.
Today was always going to be tough with key players missing and especially up against a good Armagh side that had already beaten this team only a few weeks prior. That aside there really was very little between the two teams today, a great goal from a free kick that should not have been given and a second that should have been dealt with before it even came into shooting range. We look forward to getting back to full strength away from the injuries and sickness that have plagued us since coming back after the Christmas break. Special mention must go to Spencer Young today who really did pull us out of a hole by agreeing to put the gloves on to play at the opposite end of the park for a change of scenery, despite the nerves he had a great game and was the coaches man of the match.
Team: Spencer Young, Tom Leatham, Adam Vennard, Kyle Thompson, Mark Christie, James Maguire, Aidan Cassidy, Ben Cullen, Ronan Watkins, Spencer Young, Josh Johnston, Ricardo Areujo.