Newry breezed into the third round of the Marshall Cup with a comfortable four goal win over Seapatrick at the Showgrounds on Tuesday evening. Determined to build from the back Newry at times passed the ball around as if they were the only team on the pitch and created many more chances than were converted. Never the less manager Darren Mullen will see this as another improved display as his team settle down after a shaky start to the season.
The home sides first chance came as early as the second minute, David O’Connor lofted the ball to the edge of the area where it was helped on by Mark Patton to Aaron Brilly arriving at the back post, Brilly’s prod at the ball through the defenders legs saved by Darren Brooker in the Seapatrick goal.
Lowry’s lightening pace later proved to be the one of the highlights of the match and Seapatrick got an early warning on the fifth minute when he was released by Niall Crilly for a run on goal. Having burst into the opposing penalty area Lowry chose to pull the ball back for Sean McMullan who had done well to get anywhere near Lowry and was unfortunate when Lowrys pullback was a stride behind him as he arrived inside the box.
The home support didn’t have to wait long on the opening goal however as Newry went 1-0 up on 10 minutes with the same two players involved. This time McMullan was to be the provider slipping the ball to the feet of Lowry who rolled away from his marker and passed the ball neatly past Brooker for goal number one.
Newry were almost playing with a four man attack with Brilly on the right and Chris Fay on the left linking with Lowry and McMullan. The two wingers were central to Newrys next two chances, the first of which was spurned, the second converted. On 17 minutes Brilly picked the ball up inside his own half and raced forward, giving the ball to Lowry before getting it back and whipping in a high cross to the back post where it was met by Fay alas unable to keep his headed effort down, the ball sailing over the crossbar.
The second chance was created by one of those passing movements which Newry excel at. Having received the ball from his defence Patton held the play up in midfield before laying it back to centre half Paul Donegan. Donegan spotted Lowry move into space and pumped a low ball into his feet. Lowry instantly knocked the ball wide to Brilly who whipped another cross along the face of the Seapatrick goal where again it was met by Fay arriving at the back post and this time he made no mistake to double the Newry lead.
Newry were attacking at will at this stage with Graeme Edgar, who had another excellent game in the centre of the park, venturing forward to get his head to a Fay cross but was unable to get enough loft on his attempt to lift the ball over Brooker.
The 35th minute brought the first threat to the Newry goal of the night, an effort which was snuffed out by an excellent sliding block from Donegan who with his partner Ian Curran rarely looked troubled and were more often the building blocks for Newry attacks.
The third goal owed much to the skill of McMullan. Receiving a throw in from O’Connor deep in the Seapatrick half McMullan flicked the ball up and crossed it over his head for Brilly to nip in front of his marker and flick a deft volley from the edge of the small box up and over Brooker and into the net for a picture goal to leave the half time score 3-0.
With the tie virtually won in the first half there was little urgency to the game in the early part of the second half as the home side passed the ball around. This changed on 65 minutes when O’Connor battled for the ball deep in his own half and having secured possession found Patton. Like Edgar, Patton had shown his versatility with a splendid nights work in the centre of midfield. Now with the ball at his feet and having spotted Lowry isolated with his marker on the half way line the big man pitched a perfect ball which bounced midway inside the Seapatrick half giving Lowry a race with his marker. Having started a yard or two behind in a flash Lowry had raced past the defender and despite attempts to haul him back latched onto the ball and in a few paces fired in a low shot which Brooker could only tip onto the base of his post and into the net for goal number four.
With the game won Newry made three changes but the chances kept coming with McMullan involved in most. On 75 minutes he broke down the right wing and crossed to the back post where Stefan Martin rose highest to head the ball back across the goal and was unfortunate to see it cleared off the line for a corner. Ever alert McMullan received a short pass from the corner and picked out Curran who’s diving header was also blocked on the Seapatrick goal line.
Seapatrick for their part kept battling and with 10 minutes left had their best opportunity of the night. Having hustled the Newry defence into a mistake a Seapatrick attacker fizzed a low shot from the corner of the Newry box across goal forcing Peter Murphy to dive full length to tip the shot around his post.
The final chance of the night came Newry’s way and once more McMullan was at the centre of it. Finding himself surrounded by three Seapatrick players wide on the right McMullan flicked a pass up and over the trio releasing the overlapping Edgar down the wing. Edgar swung in a cross which Lowry headed wide.
In all a comfortable win for Newry but as always games have to be won. This game was won with a solid defence who moped up anything which came their way along with often starting many attacking movements. In midfield Patton and Edgar put in sterling shifts whilst the four attacking players jelled excellently with Lowry sealing the Man of the Match award with two excellent goals.
Newry City AFC: Murphy, Crilly, O’Connor, Curran, Donegan, Patton, Edgar, Brilly, Fay, McMullan, Lowry. Subs: Martin, Campbell, Quinn, Davison.
Photographs courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.