A superbly-finished goal from midfielder Kevin Small pushed economical Antrim to a valuable away win over misfiring Fermanagh.

Small was brilliantly set up by veteran midfielder Michael McCann, who had an outstanding match, and his fine strike put Antrim into an unassailable 1-09 to 0-08 lead 15 minutes from time.

Antrim began brightly with towering midfielder Kevin Small angling over a fine effort after 50 seconds of play.

That set the pattern for a snappy opening as a lightning counter-attack from Fermanagh should have yielded a goal but full-forward Daragh McGurn – presented with an open goal – hesitated and settled for a point to level matters.

Sean Quigley put the home side in front from a pointed free but that was quickly cancelled by Jamie Gribbin.

But that was the Ernesiders' last score of the half as they created four good goal chances but missed them all as Antrim proved to be very effective on the break.

Ruairi McCann hoofed over a great '45 for the Saffrons but James McMahon spurned a great goal chance as he bizarrely elected to punch the ball to the net when he could have easily used his boot in the 10th minute.

At the other end Odhran Eastwood converted a mark, 36-year-old McCann hit a wonderful long-range point, and younger brother Thomas added another point as Fermanagh captain Declan McCusker blazed wide in front of a gaping goal in the 23rd minute.

The Antrim goal had a narrow escape two minutes from the break when Quigley's punched effort came back off the post before the forward ended a 30-minute scoring famine with a pointed free as Antrim led by 0-06 o 0-03 at the break.

Antrim edged into a 0-08 to 0-03 lead on the resumption but three quick-fire Fermanagh points made it more of a contest thanks to Quigley, Ryan Lyons and dual star Ciaran Corrigan.

Tomas McCann pushed Antrim in front by 0-09 to 0-07 with a superb point.

But there was no real way back for Fermanagh after Small’s super goal as the impressive Saffrons eased to a crucial victory.

Fermanagh: S McNally; J Cassidy, G Cavanagh, L Flanagan; A Breen, J McMahon, D McCusker; R Jones, J McDade; J Largo Ellis, B Horan, R Lyons (0-01); C Corrigan (0-01), D McGurn (0-01), S Quigley (0-03, 3f).

Subs: S McGullion for J McDade (ht), G McKenna (0-01) for R Lyons and Shane McGullion for A Breen (52), T Bogue for L Flanagan (65).

Antrim: O Kerr, E McCabe, R Johnston, J McAuley; P Healy, J Laverty, D McAleese (0-1); M McCann (0-01), K Small (1-01); R Murray (0-01, 1f) J Gribbin (0-02, 1f), P McBride; T McCann (0-03, 1f), R McCann (0-02, 1f) O Eastwood (0-02, 1f).

Subs; P McAleer for P McBride (ht), C Murray for O Eastwood (44), P McCormick for R Murray (55), S McGarry (0-01) for R McCann (68), P Shivers for T McCann (70).

Referee: B Tiernan (Dublin).