County Armagh Premiers got their SuperCupNI campaign underway with a 2-0 defeat to Californian regulars Strikers FC at a sun-kissed Warren Recreation Grounds in Portstewart.
The Californian side started strongest and Liam Hughes had to be on his toes to tip over Tristan Weber’s curling effort.
Neither side were able to find that killer ball in the final third as they cancelled each other out early on.
Armagh should have possibly edged in front with the next major attack Ryan Carmichael fired at goal after capitalising on a mistake from a Strikers’ defender, but his shot lacked conviction and it was a straight forward save for the American ‘keeper.
Armagh were making in roads down the left hand side and Pablo Andrade pounced on a another mistake and clipped the ball to the back post, but skipper Cahal McGinty lashed wide inside the area.
Andrade almost broke the deadlock when he created half a yard of space inside the box but some committed defending saw the Strikers clear their lines.
Against the run of play the Americans took the lead, a wicked in-swinging corner from Tristan Weber missed everyone and crept over the line.
Armagh responded well but they couldn’t breach the well organised Strikers’ rear-guard and their last chance of the half saw the Strikers somehow clear their lines as Luke Wilson cleverly headed the ball back across the area from a corner kick.
The Strikers came out determined to double their lead early on but Brian Martinez couldn’t connect to an excellent dipping free-kick with just minutes gone in the second half.
Andrade was still working hard out on the left for the Orchard County, but he couldn’t find that final ball in the last third.
It was soon game, set and match for the Americans as Daniel Neill misread a long kick from Managa saw Martinez round the advancing Hughes and roll the ball into the empty net.
Martinez nearly doubled his tally moments later but he nodded wide after losing his marker inside the area.
Armagh continued to work hard and Oisin Smyth drove forward and played a clever ball into the path of the advancing Mark Lucas, but Managa rushed out quickly and deflected the ball wide.
The Orchard outfit showed plenty of endeavour throughout, but squandered several good opportunities, which in the end came back to haunt them.
County Armagh 0
Strikers FC 2
Credit: Sam Gamble, @Sam_Gamble88