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Non Sibi Cunctus.
Match : 1st XI v Armagh
Date : 2008-04-12
Venue : H
Score : 0-6
By Kriss Leslie
Linden Cup runners-up Armagh came to Paisley expecting an easy game, but even though the scoreline may at first suggest that, it was far from an easy game for the side on the verge of promotion to Senior 1.
In the first half East frustrated their opponents constantly, defending well as a unit, and having some attacking play in the Armagh half. But Armagh found the breakthrough via a backpost deflection. East continued to fight on as Armagh, who expected to walk all over us, grew increasingly annoyed at their inability to cut open the green defence.
About 10 minutes before half time, Armagh then got a short corner which was well executed. 2-0 down, but East werenít going to give up. We continued to play with great spirit, and had a few short corner efforts which almost resulted in the deficit being reduced. Minty, Leon and Alan also played some great hockey, carving open the Armagh defence.
Armagh then went 3-0 up just before half time after yet another short corner. East may have been 3-0 down at half time, but we had limited Armagh to very few chances from open play, and it was only their clinical short corner finishing which made the scoreline as high as what it was.
The second half came, and East were ready for another 35 minutes of hard work and concentration. The game continued in much the same manner with Armagh trying to open up the East defence. Graeme, Stevie and Thom excelled in reading the game and making important tackles. Stevie was particularly impressive with his pacey runs down the right hand side, which allowed East to form attacks.
But Armagh then scored another couple of short corners and a goal from open play. Even though the scoreline wasnít pretty, we certaintly didnít let Armagh take such a lead easily. We made them work for it, and we continued to fight and play with great spirit.
The last time we played Armagh, in Armagh, they beat us by twice as much. They opened up our defence constantly, creating chances and putting us under constant pressure. However, Saturday was a different story. It was yet another sign of how much we have gradually improved in recent months. We didnít let the league leaders trounce us, we made them earn their victory. At times we made them look ordinary by exposing their defense, with Leon almost scoring on a few occasions.
It may be hard to accept that the men in green put in an excellent team performance if you are someone reading this who wasnít at the match on Saturday. But ask any of the Armagh players and they will tell you that they had to earn that victory. This is a team that is expected to defeat teams like us by double figure scorelines, as they have done to others and ourlseves in the past.
That is now three good performances in the last three games. The Omagh game which we shouldíve won, the Ballymena game in which we were unlucky not to earn at least a point, and the Armagh game which despite the scoreline was a great team effort. The results may not be going our way just yet, but they will come eventually. The Parkview and Campbellians games are perfect opportunities for us to pick up more points before the end of the season. We have shown we can do it against Ballymena, and these teams are both below them in the league. But remember we must continue such determined team performances if we want to show Senior 2 that we can compete.
Thom Russell, Stevie Cummins, and Graeme Reid. All deserve it!!