Newry City AFC returned to winning ways at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night in their Mid Ulster league game against Seagoe. Delighted to have a quick chance to get Saturdays draw out of their system the Newry boys rattled home five goals, two each for the striking duo of Patton and Barr and one from Jimmy Walker, to give them some breathing space at the top of the table. Although manager Darren Mullen would have been happy with the points he was not fully convinced by the performance “It was a game we played very well in parts but like any young team there are always things to work on. We had plenty of possession but just need to be more patient in the final third”.
The Newry managers comments were perhaps directed at the first half hour of the match when his team had lots of possession up to the final third of the pitch but in that red zone could not manage to find the killer pass to open up the Seagoe goal. That’s not to say that the home side didn’t have any early chances the first coming after only five minutes when captain Chris McMahon rose highest to get his head to a corner kick on the penalty spot, his effort marginally over the cross bar. Indeed this was the first of a flurry of corners for Newry all of which brought half chances.
With 10 minutes gone Seagoe were fortunate to see a Walker corner deflect off a defender and bounce the wrong side of the post from a home perspective for another corner, this time Walker laying the ball back to Sean Hand who shot across the goal and wide of the far post. Walker was instigating all the Newry attacking play. On 20 minutes he took the ball out from his own defence to inside the Seagoe half before laying the ball off to David Anderson, Anderson running across the face of the box before his shot was charged down for a corner.
On 25 minutes the roles were reversed Anderson controlling a long Peter Murphy kick out before setting up Walker who also pulled his shot wide of the far post. Seagoe’s answer to Newrys neat passing and movement was a series of niggling foul’s which strangely did not result in a yellow card or two but did bring the goal that the Newry supporters had been waiting on. Mark Patton has worked tirelessly up front for Newry creating many chances and goals for his team mates but has been completely out of luck in the past few games personally. That record was put straight on the half hour mark when Newry were awarded a free kick in a central position inside the Seagoe half. From this unpromising position Walker floated a straight free kick into the penalty area and Patton did the rest, rising to loop his header over Jamie Greenaway in the Seagoe goal to put Newry 1-0 up. And once Patton’s drought had ended you would have always fancied him for another and it duly came on 42 minutes. McMahon won possession back for Newry deep in his own half and released Niall Crilly to push forward. Crilly took the ball to outside the Seagoe penalty area before rolling it to Barr, Barr back heeling the ball into the path of Crilly who had continued his run. When Greenaway could only parry Crillys shot Patton was the first to react planting the loose ball to the net to make the half time score 2-0 to Newry.
The second half was only a minute old when Newry had a chance to go further ahead. Jimmy Walker picked the ball up in the Newry half and ran unchallenged half the length of the pitch before slipping a pass to Patton inside the box. Patton feigned to shoot but instead played the ball back to Walker who had a better sight of goal but pulled his shot harmlessly wide.
While Walker does the creative work McMahon does the hard graft to win possession as he did again on 48 minutes again deep in the Newry area. This time he gave the ball to Walker who made ground before sliding a through ball to Barr now with only Greenaway to beat. However the Seagoe keeper was quickly off his line blocking Barrs effort with his legs.
Seagoe took advantage of these Newry misses when they pulled a goal back almost on the hour mark when William Kerr rose highest to head a corner ball past Peter Murphy to half the Newry advantage.
The home side were not about to drop more points and showed this intent from the restart when Sean Hand skipped down the left wing, cut inside and laid a perfect pass into Patton who was unfortunate to see his shot deflected for a corner.
This was only a temporary reprieve for Seagoe as Newry sealed the points with a three goal burst between the 74th and 82nd minute. On 72 minutes Newry introduced fresh legs in the shape of Mark Lowry, his impact almost immediate when he picked up a long ball from Paul McElroy in space on the right wing. Lowry used the space to look up and pick out Walker inside the box. Walker always appears to have time on the ball, this time turning onto his left foot and curling his shot from the edge of the penalty area into the far corner of the Seagoe net to restore Newrys two goal advantage. Number four came two minutes later again generated by McMahon winning the ball inside his own half. This time he did the creative work himself finding Patton at the back post. Composed, Patton drew two defenders towards him before chipping a pass over their heads to his partner Barr who had the easy task of finishing to put Newry 4-1 up. And Newrys top scorer made it 5-1 on 82 minutes after Walker danced around three Segoe defenders on the edge of the box before sliding a through ball to Lowry who unselfishly squared to Barr again in the right place at the right time to tap in his 25th goal of the season.
Speaking after the game Newry manager Darren Mullen had a word for Seagoe “For a team lying second from bottom they were very well organised and we had to work very hard to break them down. I was also pleased that parts of this game showed that we can be aggressive in our play when the opposition are physical with Paul McElroy and Chris McMahon leading the way”.
With Man of the Match Mark Patton back amongst the goals and leading scorer Barr notching another brace Newry now look forward to the league run in starting with Tuesdays Match away to Valley Rangers.
Seagoe Team: Greenaway, Megaw, Brown, R Simmons, Willis, A Simmons, Kerr, Corkin, Hanna, Argue, McClelland. Subs: Currie, G Simmons, Wilson.
Newry Team: Murphy, Crilly, McVicker, Annett, McElroy, McMahon, Walker, Anderson, Patton, Barr, Hand. Subs: Lowry (Anderson), Martin, McLarty (Crilly), Campbell (Walker).
Photographs Courtesy of Brendan Monaghan.