Newry City Ladies continued their preparation for their first match in Division 1 of the Northern Ireland Football Women’s Association with a friendly match at the Showgrounds against Comber Rec on Monday night. The Newry side have been strengthened by a number of acquisitions during the off season, perhaps the major coup being the arrival of former Chelsea player and Cliftonville manager Billy Sinclair as manager. The playing squad has also been added to with the signings of Aoibheann Jones, Natasha Daryaie, Blaithin Mackin, Denim McLoughlin to add more strength to the panel which strolled to the Division 3 title last season.
City started off strong and after good work in the middle of the field Aimee Mackin surged down the left wing before delivering the ball into the middle of the box for her sister Blaithin to finish with class into the bottom left corner. It was only seven minutes later when Aimee then grabbed her first goal when she unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top of the net.
Fifteen minutes in and the Comber keeper made a great save to deny Aoife Lennon from getting her name on the score sheet from a 20 yard free kick. Though only a minute later she could only watch as Ashleigh Dinsmore cooly slid in the fourth goal of the night. The Mackin pair where then unlucky not to deliver when they set up another great chance, this time Blaithin played a superb ball into the box alas with just too much power for Aimee to get her foot on the end of.
The next City goal came following intricate work from Northern Ireland Internationals Aimee Makin and Lennon. The girls combined well to set up Dinsmore in the perfect position to unleash a powerful strike 20 yards out which was too strong for the Comber keeper to prevent hitting the back of the net. Minutes later Lennon calmly slotted home another from the penalty spot following a Comber handball. Just before the break Aoibheann Jones grabbed her first goal in a Newry jersey after A.Mackin became the provider, she found Jones in space in the box to bring the half time tally to six unanswered goals.
City continued their good play and it was only four minutes after the break when Lennon got her second goal of the night after she volleyed the ball into the net from a Aimee Mackin corner for an excellent finish.
All this attacking play for Newry was built upon a solid defence made up of Marianne Marron, Clara Mulvenna, Lisa McCann and Amy Kelly who were unruffled by Combers attacking play. Indeed the home side continued to dominate and Aimee Mackin then showed her class again as she dribbled the ball around three Comber defenders leaving herself only the keeper to beat which she did with ease. A further brace of goals by Dinsmore was only spoiled by a top drawer save from the Comber keeper which denied Ashleigh a hat trick in as many minutes.
Jones then added another as she took the ball around several defenders before calmly finishing to the back of the net. This effort was followed by the strike of the night from young Blaithin Mackin, her thunderous drive from the right corner of the box rattling into the net off the underside of the cross bar for her second goal.
The finale however was left to Newrys flying winger Aimee Mackin who scored the fourteenth and final goal of the night.
Newry City would like to pay a big thanks to newly formed Comber Rec who came up to the Showgrounds and did themselves proud in a very sporting contest. Speaking afterwards the Comber Rec manager was very happy with his girls who range from fourteen to forty plus. This match against Newry was a big test for his newly formed team who will benefit from a few more games together before they compete this season in the Development League 4 of the NIFWA, their first League game on the 2nd May v Ballymena Reserves Ladies. We wish them all the best for the new season ahead.
The Newry Ladies first game of the new season will be played at the Showgrounds v Sion Swifts on the 25th April with a 7:30pm kick off. Hopefully Spring will have arrived by then!
Newry City Team: Connie Burns, Marianne Marron, Clara Mulvenna, Lisa McCann, Aimee Mackin, Blaithin Mackin, Aoife Lennon, Amy Kelly, Ashleigh Dinsmore, Aoibheann Jones, Natasha Daryaie.