Rangers rescue a point

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Killymoon Rangers 2

Armagh City 2

Killymoon Rangers came back from 2-0 down at half-time last Saturday to record their ninth draw of the season.

Armagh had the first effort on five minutes, shooting over from the edge of the penalty area, but it was home side who settled quicker, with striker Andy Cochrane leading the line well on his first start for the club, in the absence of top scorer Warren Smith.

The young Armagh side were finding it difficult to get a hold on the game in the opening exchanges, but their back line was holding firm despite an early spill by their keeper. The turning point in the first period happened just before the half hour mark when the Killymoon defence appealed for off side after a ball was chipped over their heads to Liam Cullen down the right wing. With the assistant referee keeping his flag down Cullen ran into the penalty area before playing the ball across the box to Adam Nesbitt who had the easy task of knocking it into an empty net to give his side the lead.

After their opener the visitors began to take control and within five minutes they found themselves two up. A free-kick from the left was delivered into the back post and as the Killymoon players left it to each other to deal with Armagh captain Johnny Walker came in unmarked to steer the ball past the helpless Gareth McElhatton in the home goal.

The visitors were in confident mood and pushed forward looking to kill off their opponents prior to the interval and had an appeal for a penalty when Nesbitt went down easily in the box under a challenge, but the referee played on before coming back to book the striker for a dive. It was also refreshing to see a referee try to play advantage during a game and not blowing for every soft challenge. The home side were glad to hear the half time whistle so that they could regroup after a poor finish to the half.

Whatever the Killymoon management team said at the break had an immediate affect as within eight minutes of the restart the sides were level. It was the Armagh’s defence that stood still on 49 minutes when they failed to deal with a free kick into the penalty area. The ball bounced between two defenders and through to Andy Neill who was able to stretch his long legs to keep the ball in play and guide it across the goalmouth where Cochrane was the quickest to react to score from close range and it was the visitors turn to appeal in vain for an off side decision.

The momentum of the match swung back in the home sides favour and within a few minutes the scores were level. Stuart Glasgow whipped a corner into the penalty area and Stephen Purvis powered the ball into the net with his head to score his first goal of the season.

The visitors were on the rack and a long throw from David McMullan created chaos in the Armagh penalty area, but Killymoon were unable to find the finishing touch after some pin-ball around the six yard area.

Armagh still looked dangerous on the counter attack and Purvis had to throw his body in front of a shot to protect his keeper on the hour mark.

Killymoon continued to put pressure on their visitors and looked to have taken the lead when Glasgow got on the end of a breaking ball at the edge of the penalty area, but his pile driver of a shot rattled of the upright with the keeper well beaten. Shortly after McMullan headed towards the back post, but Neill could only guide the ball onto the post from a tight angle.

The final 20 minutes saw the game open up with both sides creating chances and it took a good save from McElhatton to prevent Armagh from regaining the lead.

Substitute Willie Watson had a great chance to score within minutes of coming on, but the Armagh keeper was quick off his line to save his shot. Conor Mallon, who was signed from Cookstown Youth last month, came on for the final 10 minutes and showed some good touches as both sides looked for the win.

Purvis had Killymoon’s last effort when he headed over for another McMullan throw, but the entertaining game ended with honours even.

Killymoon Rangers: G McElhatton, A Ferson, C Kilpatrick, S Purvis, D McMullan, A Neill (C Martin), S Glasgow, W Montgomery, A Cochrane (C Mallon), M Stewart (W Watson), J Young

This Saturday they travel to Belfast to face Dundela, who still have an outside chance of gaining promotion, kick off 3pm. Promotion favourites Warrenpoint Town then visit the Sports Arena on Tuesday 19th April looking to take another step to Championship 1, kick off 8pm.

The Reserves had no game last Saturday, but return to action on Thursday 14th April against Magherafelt Sky Blues Reserves at the Fairhill with a 6.30pm kick off. On Saturday manager Phil Gray takes his side to title challengers Glebe Rangers Reserves.

Due to the upcoming mid week matches there will be no more training for the rest of the season.

ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER

This season’s awards dinner will take place at the Royal Hotel on Saturday 4th June. Anyone interested in attending should give their name to any Club official.

POKER CLASSIC

There will be plenty of ‘bluffing’ going on at the Royal Hotel this Saturday when the good, the bad and the occasional player go head-to-head in the Poker Classic.

Even if you don’t know the rules of ‘Texas Hold-em’ why not come along and try your ‘hand’ at the game that has the nation hooked. The dealing begins at 8pm and anyone can enter on the night.