ardee Celtic recorded their third win of the season with a hard-fought success away to bottom side Johnstown on Friday night.
The Meath side started brighter and possibly should have been two goals to the good inside the opening 15 minutes. Eventually, on the half-hour mark Johnstown did hit the front with a fantastic strike that left keeper Dave Anderson with no chance.
Manager Gary Malone responded by making some tactical switches in a bid to counter the pressure and it paid off on 40 minutes.
The visitors won a free kick on the edge of the box, Noah Coyle floated in a cross from the right and Aaron Dunne rose highest to head home.
The sides were level at the break and Ardee were very much playing with their tails up.
The visitors started the second half much brighter. Trevor Farrell had been a threat throughout but was getting much more joy now and the striker broke through the Johnstown defence before being hacked down for a stonewall penalty.
Ciaran McCartney dispatched the spot kick to give Ardee a deserved lead.
Ardee pushed on for a third goal, Farrell going close with a snap shot and Cian Kirwan likewise.
Malone sprung two debutants from the bench in the form of David Magee and Conor McNally. Both of them are part of the Ardee youth set-up and looked very much at home as part of the senior side.
In a frantic finish which saw Johnstown push for a leveller, the youthful duo did well in allowing Ardee hold on for the win. Anderson too came to the fore and made some excellent stops, but it was his ability to marshal the defence and control the game which was key.
The Deesiders are scheduled for two games in 48 hours this week, as they were due to begin their Challenge Cup campaign away to Virginia last night (Tuesday) before travelling to Torro on Thursday in the league.
Such a schedule will no doubt test the squad, but Ardee have a solid youthful cohort to select from.
Ardee CELTIC: Dave Anderson, Noah Coyle, Brendan Matthews, Carlos Kayode, Dylan Maher, Jamie Ward, Leon Myles, Aaron Dunne, Cian Kirwan, Trevor Farrell, Ciaran McCartney Subs Used:David Magee, Conor McNally, Paul Duff.