Newry U17’s kicked off the new season with an excellent win against a strong and aggressive Belfast team, Solway Stars. But it was Solway who got off to the best start as they ran at the Newry lads and sent probing balls into the spaces behind the Newry defence. It nearly paid off for them when the Solway centre forward blocked down a defensive clearance, and Newry goalkeeper Heaney had to be at his sharpest to smother the ball and thwart any danger. Solway found the Newry lads in stubborn mood as every time they went forward they were outnumbered in tackles and City slowly started taking control of the game. A midfield line of McGrath, Murphy and McEvoy, were backed up by the impressive back four of Boyle, Courtney, Rooney and Barfield. Solway forced a couple of corners but barely threatened Jack Heaney in the Newry goals.
Newry’s first goal of the season came from a corner delivered by Murphy, to Lee Courtney who headed the ball across goal, Castelli laid the ball off, and Pinnington lashed the ball into the back of the Solway net giving the goalkeeper no chance.
As half time approached Solway pushed forward at every opportunity, but with Newry defending so well they were unable to register a meaningful effort on goal.
In the second half Newry really got the bit between their teeth and got at the Solway defence. Durnin and Pinnington switched wings and Castelli held strong up front, laying off some fine balls for the wide players.
By now, the Solway players were showing their frustration and putting in some rash tackles, resulting in several yellow cards being handed out. Newry were awarded a penalty on the 45 minute mark when substitute Jack Grant, was impeded as he jostled for position waiting on a corner being delivered.
Josh Durnin stepped up and scored, sending the Solway keeper the wrong way. At 2 nil up Newry were looking comfortable, but a bit of a slip up at the back almost let Solway in on goal. Lee Courtney recovered well and expertly slid in to put the ball out for a corner.
Durnin came close to scoring his second goal of the season when he latched on to an excellent through-ball from midfield. Unfortunately his chipped shot went agonisingly over the bar.
With five minutes remaining on the clock, Devlin, who had earlier replaced Castelli at centre forward, closed down a Solway defender, won the ball and slipped it through to Pinnington who confirmed a great win for Newry as he walked the ball into the net.
Newry’s next match is against Hillsborough on Tuesday night at the Rec, Lisburn. Kick-off is scheduled for 6.30.
Newry’s team: Jack Heaney, Kevin Boyle, Daire Rooney, Ciaran Murphy, E Barfield, Lee Courtney, Ronan McGrath, Chris McEvoy, Josh Durnin, David Castelli, Jordan Pinnington. Subs: Jack Grant, Dylan Devlin, Conor McGivern, Colm McEvoy.