Away win as Annagh extend dream start

Raymond Harpur helped Annagh to full points last weekend with a key free-kick delivery.
Raymond Harpur helped Annagh to full points last weekend with a key free-kick delivery.

Annagh United added another dream result to the club’s perfect start in NIFL Championship One with a weekend win on the road.

Manager Dean Smith is confident his players can use that blueprint established across the opening fortnight as the foundation for progress.

A winning start to Annagh’s debut season in the Irish League second tier arrived courtesy of success at home against Armagh City.

United then stepped up to the away challenge of Saturday’s Institute trip and returned home with another full haul.

“We are enjoying the start and trust in our team spirit and hard work to help us over this season,” said Smith. “Irrespective of the results we get, we can put faith in those characteristics.

“We are realistic and must expect bumps in the road but if we stick together that will help us deal with every situation.

“To get the opening win at home to Armagh was excellent but there are so many connections between the two clubs and camps.

“Saturday was a different test when you consider a few months back they were playing in the top flight and we were in Championship Two.

“Full credit to the players, we had a string of players out but I will always back the squad to step up together.

“We restricted Institute to one shot really from open play and we created the best chances.

“The goal came from a set-piece but in Raymond Harpur and Paul Stretton we have players who can really deliver.

“Everyone called on last weekend worked so hard and we are obviously delighted with the start.”

Annagh have added experience to the squad this week with the capture of Mark Stewart from Ards.

“Mark has played most of his career in Championship One but is another local lad so knows basically everyone in our squad,” said Smith. “He is such a reliable player but so versatile across defence or midfield.

“He will add to the squad depth and we had teenagers on the bench last weekend but we trust everyone.

“That allows us to cope then with losing six or seven people last weekend and another three or four for Saturday’s visit to Donegal Celtic.

“Every player knows he has an equal chance to earn and keep the shirt.”