Ballymoney suffered late heartache against league leaders Armagh when they lost 2-1 courtesy of a penalty in the sixth minute of injury time.
Armagh City were made to fight all the way for their narrow win over a battling Ballymoney United at Holm Park on Saturday.
The Championship Two leaders started strongly and immediately put the County Antrim visitors on the back-foot. But United soon settled and forced City ‘keeper Morgan into turning a fierce low shot around an upright.
Morgan was in action again on 10 minutes when he brilliantly saved a powerful Gerard Gillan header and, moments later, he could only watch as Og Boyle flicked another fine header just wide.
A minute later, however, Armagh took the lead when McGerrigan broke on the left and crossed into the box where Donnelly tucked the ball home despite the best efforts of United goalkeeper Moore.
Armagh could have doubled their score moments later when Murray and Donnelly almost rounded off a flowing move but the brave Moore came rushing out to smother the short-range shot.
In this free-flowing match Ballymoney’s McKinley was unlucky to see his low shot diverted for a corner by Morgan while, at the other end of the park, Murray failed to finish off a clear-cut chance.
Half Time Armagh City 1 Ballymoney United 0
After the break the attacking pattern of play continued and Murray was again thwarted by the awesome Moore who smothered his thunderous close-range effort.
On 53 minutes, however, Ballymoney deservedly got back on level terms when a pass from Larkin into the Armagh box was latched onto by McCaughan who dispatched the ball past Morgan in style. Both teams were now going flat-out for the winner and City had chances through McGerrigan and Cullen, while United’s Larkin had a golden opportunity to give the visitors the spoils, deciding to try and round the keeper when a chip was the better option.
Deep into injury-time a draw looked on the cards but then Armagh made one final effort to grab the winner.
The ball was floated into the Ballymoney danger area by McGerrigan and Murray headed goalwards. It was alleged by referee Taverner in the 96th minute the ball had struck a United defender on the arm and the Dungannon whistler immediately pointed to the penalty spot.
Murray then stepped up and slammed the spot-kick into the net past the unfortunate Moore.
Ballymoney United: Moore, Dooey, McGarry, Gillan, OgBoyle, McClelland, Larkin, Og O’Kane, McKinley, McCaughan, McAuley.