Another slow start but in the end a comprehensive victory for Newry City in Tuesday night’s Mid Ulster Cup tie against Dromore Amateurs. The game will be remembered for a sparkling hat trick from veteran Sean McMullan and the competitive debut of Kevin Moan and Gary Crummy, both of whom look like good additions to the first team squad.
For the first half hour of the game Newry had much of the possession but did not threaten the Dromore goal except for an Aaron Brilly snapshot from outside the box after he was set up Sean McMullan. For all Newry’s tidy passing it took a good old fashioned hard block tackle from youngster Crummy to create the first goal. Having won the tackle Crummy played the ball into the feet of McMullan on the edge of the Dromore box. The big man took a step to his left and fired a low left foot shot back across the keeper and into the corner of the net to put Newry into the lead. Newry had made six changes for this game, one of them being Ian Curran starting at left back. Curran displayed his array of skills soon after the opening goal when he sprayed a diagonal ball which landed perfectly for Jimmy Walker to volley first time from the corner of the six yard box, his effort flashing wide of the far post with the Dromore keeper beaten. The home side doubled their advantage on 40 minutes. Kenny Kearns won the ball inside his own half and immediately released Walker. The Newry playmaker drilled a long pass along the ground which the Dromore right back Timmy Stewart attempted to intercept. McMullan gambled on Stewart missing the ball and when he did the big man had only one Dromore defender to beat which he did easily with a drop of his right shoulder before moving the ball onto his trusty left foot and blasting the ball high into the net to put Newry 2-0 up. The home side had a great chance for number three on the stroke of half time. Chris McMahon split the Dromore defence with an incisive pass giving Brilly a one on one with Thompson in the Dromore goal, a battle which the keeper won to leave the half time score 2-0 in Newrys favour.
Immediately after the break in a rare break away Dromore looked all set to half the deficit only for Peter Murphy to sprint from his line to clear the danger to the Newry goal.
And from here on it was one way traffic as Newry dominated the rest of the game. With Kearns and McMahon holding the middle of the field Walker had the freedom of the park. On 50 minutes he picked the ball up in the centre of the field and after playing one twos with McMullan found himself inside the box with the advancing keeper to beat. Walker pitched his shot into the air and although unfortunate to see it hit the cross bar Crummy was alert to react first to the rebound to slot home his first senior goal for Newry. On the hour mark McMullan completed his hat trick with the best goal of the night. Walker is always on the alert for something different. Standing over a free kick outside the Dromore box Walker spotted McMullan moving round the back of the last defender and lofted in a pass which landed perfectly for McMullan who did not have to break stride as he volleyed past Thompson to put Newry 4-0 up. The big man was also involved in goal number 5 as he got his head to a long Paul Donegan pass to nod the ball down to Brilly who was chopped down as he brought the ball into the Dromore penalty box. When the referee pointed to the spot Donegan grabbed the chance to slot the penalty low and hard past Thompson. Newry’s final goal of the night was started and finished by Walker. On the ball again in the middle of the field Walker skipped around a challenge or two before laying the ball wide to Keith Johnston. Continuing his run Walker was then on hand inside the box to take the return pass and shoot past Thomson to make the final score 6-0 to Newry.
On a night when Newry switched their team around with a bench full of first team players waiting to be introduced they were best served by Walker and Crummy with McMullan just about sealing the Man of the Match award with that hat trick.
Newry manager Darren Mullen, now faced with some tricky selection decisions, was clearly pleased to be faced with that problem “That was a game we never looked troubled in but for all our possession it took a while to get the first goal. Once that went in we settled a bit and controlled the rest of the game. The performance and the result are clearly pleasing as we made six changes for the game from Saturday’s team. That’s shows the strength in depth we have in the squad with more players shortly due back from injury. Kevin Moan and Gary Crummy both had excellent games on their full debut and I’m sure Gary won’t forget his first Newry goal.
Newry City AFC: Murphy, Edgar, Curran, Donegan, Moan, Walker, Kearns, McMahon, McMullan, Brilly, Crummy, Subs: Johnston, Lowry, Patton, Crilly, Quinn, Barr.