Newry City bowed out of the Bob Radcliffe Cup at the second round stage with a tepid display at home to Hanover on Friday night. Playing at home in front of another large expectant crowd the Newry side could not build on last week’s Irish Cup win and must now regroup for the upcoming local derby against Rathfriland Rangers.
Friday night’s game started slowly and the first clear chance after 15 minutes turned out to be the decisive moment of the night. A long high hopeful ball into the centre of the Newry defence was met with a sliced clearance the ball falling into the path of a grateful Hanover forward who neatly tucked the ball past Peter Murphy in the home net.
Newry went on the offensive for the rest of the first half and created a number of half chances without really looking like drawing level. On 20 minutes Lonnie Larkin controlled a Murphy kick out on the left wing before crossing to Gareth Hughes on the edge of the box only for Hughes effort to be charged down by the Hanover defence. Minutes later Hughes again found himself in the same position after Niall Crilly’s cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Larkin. Unfortunately the Hanover defence were again on hand to block Hughes effort. Newrys best chance of the half came with moments left when Jimmy Walker fired the free kick he himself had won across the edge of the Hanover six yard box and when a deflection from either an attacker or defender could have been enough to deflect the ball into the net neither happened and the ball flew wide of the far post.
Newry swapped their front pairing shortly after the restart introducing John Smyth and Neil Barr in an effort to introduce some fresh impetus into the attack. On the hour mark Newry had perhaps their best opening of the night when a Murphy clearance was met with a deft Hughes headed flick into the path of Walker arriving into the Hanover box and with the home crowd expecting an equaliser Walkers shot cannoned off Short in the away goal for a corner. Newry kept the pressure on as Ian Curran picked up the crossed corner at the back post and laid the ball back to Crilly who unleashed a fine drive from about thirty yards which the keeper could only deflect for another corner. This time the corner arrived at the feet of Barr who turned and shot just wide of the far post.
Newry thought they had found the elusive goal on 75 minutes when Smyth’s cross from the right wing was finished to the net at the back post by Larkin who’s celebrations were cut short by referee Kerr who had already whistled for a push on the defender and Newry’s Radcliffe Cup run ended with their last chance of the game when Smyth’s run and shot ended in the hands of Short in the Hanover net.
This was a tame display by Newry. Disrupted by the pre-match withdrawal of Conor McCaul and already without the services of Sean Hand and Captain Chris McMahon amongst others Newry failed to make enough clear chances to win the game. Although served well by hard working displays from Crilly, Walker, Hughes and Graeme Edgar the home management can have little complaints about this defeat and must now look forward to the league and other cup competitions to come.
Newry City AFC: 1 Peter Murphy 2 Niall Crilly 3 David Anderson 4 Joel Annett (Curran) 5 Paul McElroy 6 Jimmy Walker 7 Peter Thompson (Barr) 8 Graeme Edgar 9 Chris Smyth (J Smyth) 10 Gareth Hughes 11 Lonnie Larkin. Subs: 12 Paul Daly 13 Ian Curran 14 Stefan Martin 15 Neil Barr 16 John Smyth.