Dylan shines at the back as Town edged out by Armagh

5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

Banbridge Town AFC lost their first first away fixture of the season, beaten 1-0 by a strong Armagh City Reserves.

Despite the result, coach Christian Beattie was pleased with his side’s efforts.

“With such a young squad it was always going to be difficult but the work rate and attitude of the players is brilliant,” he said. “We played some really good football and with continued hard work we will improve every game.

“Sometimes when you’re chasing something substitutions can slow the flow down but Marks Orr and Monaghan came on and slotted into the tempo of the game with ease.

AFC began well and their pressure led to a dangerous counter attack from City who shot just wide of Phil Goan’s net. Big Phil has improved so much this year and seems to be really enjoying his football. He was a rock on saturday.

Town had another chance when Ryan Williamson, free at the back post, let fly with a left foot volley that just rose over the crossbar. Williamson was immense down the left wing and his work-rate to help defend when needed then launch a counter attack was admired by all watching.

AFC players stood up to the onslaught with great team work and after a few heart stopping moments, they went in level at half-time.

A great through ball found young McCavitt again who was making really intelligent runs all day. On this occasion he lifted his shot over the bar. If he had his shooting boots on he could have come home with a hat-trick but it was not his day.

Against the run of play, City had a shot of their own saved by Goan then the rebound was heading towards the AFC goal and a great defensive block by Jordan Hayes led to a goal-line scramble which City managed to toe poke in.

Brilliant forward passes from the midfield of Burns Heaney and Hayes with Williamson on the left and Mallon playing diagonal forward passes was a strikers dream. But the coaching staff watched in disbelief as chance after chance went begging.

“Man of the match goes to young centre back and captain for the day Dylan Martin who was outstanding,” said coach Beattie. “He really rose to the challenge and along with the rest of the guys never stopped trying.”

Next week, AFC are away to Valley Rangers in the league.