PORTSTEWART put in a spirited display against table toppers Armagh United in Saturday’s Championship Two fixture.
The Seasiders are still searching for their first win in the League, but Saturday’s 2-0 defeat was a long way from their embarrasing 5-0 defeat in the NW Cup last Saturday.
With five regular first team players missing through injury or work committements, the Portstewart management were forced to shuffle their pack.
Danny Austin, Archie Quinn, She Bradley and Johnny Gawn stepped up from the Reserves and did themselves no harm putting in good displays.
Armagh put Portstewart under pressure from the start, but good defending from Ramsey and White backed up by keeper Madison kept Armagh at bay.
Armagh did open the scoring on the 25th minute when Cullen hit home with a powerful header.
Despite the setback Portstewart continued to battle. Chances from Owen Moody and Ricky Dunlop were saved by the Armagh keeper.
The second half was a similar affair with Portstewart battling hard against a youthful Armagh side.
In the 48th minute, Armagh grabbed their second after a goal mouth scramble.
This didn’t deter the visitors as they continued to battle, chances fell to Che Bradley and Ricky Dunlop but they couldn’t beat the home keeper.
Portstewart Assistant, Aaron Forgrave was pleased with the display: “ We were expecting a really tough test against Armagh, given that we were going down with a very young team. But, credit to our boys they battled hard.
“The difference between the two teams was that Armagh took their chances. Moody, Bradley, Dunlop and Gawn all had chances in front of goal - we were just guilty of not making the most of them.”
Forgrave singled out defenders Andy White and Craig Ramsey for good performances on the day and praised the youngsters who came in.
“It’s always difficult being thrown in, but the young boys that came in did very well. Young Johnny Gawn is just 17, he stepped up from the Reserves, and to be honest he played very well.”
Portstewart have no game this week due to NW Cup fixtures. Their next match sees them take on PSNI at home on Saturday October 13.