A slow start but in the end a straightforward 3-0 win secured a welcome three points for Newry City at home to Broomhill on Saturday. With 11 players who have played first team football this season unavailable Newry manager Darren Mullen speaking after the match was content with the result “It was far from our best performance of the season especially in the first half but it’s a welcome three points and hopefully gives us a platform to move forward”.
With debutants in goal and at centre back Newry took a while to settle and for the first half hour Broomhill, aided by a strong breeze, looked the most likely to score, Newry indebted to both of the new faces for keeping Broomhill out. Twice centre half Micheál Hastewell made last ditch blocks to deny the visitors clear shooting opportunities inside the box and when Broomhill did get through Conor Ruddy’s handling did not let his side down. That said Broomhill did spurn two excellent chances to open the scoring first when the Newry defence were caught out as they attempted to play offside, Newry fortunate to see the Richard Nesbitt’s shot blaze over the bar and they were let off moments later when Jason Harper broke down the left wing, cut back inside the box only to blast his shot over Ruddy’s bar when a crossed ball looked the better option.
Graeme Edgar had Newrys first real effort on the Broomhill goal after 33 minutes his strike deflected for a corner from which the home side had a great chance to open the scoring, Jimmy Walkers cross falling to Mark Patton who from the centre of the penalty area was unable to keep his snap shot down. Newry seemed to gain impetus from this phase and soon went a goal up. Again Patton was involved his shot from outside the box deflected for another corner. This time Walker swung in a high cross which was held up in the wind, Ian Curran reacting first to loop a clever header from the edge of the six yard box over the Broomhill defenders on the goal line to give Newry the lead. The home side created a further chance just before the break, Edgar chipping the ball into the box to Patton who with his back to goal nodded the ball back to Sean McMullan, his toe poked effort from the edge of the box forcing a smart save from Samuel Allen low to his left.
Newry were gifted an excellent opportunity to double their advantage on 54 minutes when referee Andrew MacDonald adjudged that Allen had handled a back pass awarding Newry a free kick to the right of the six yard box. Again Walker hit the Newry dead ball, his hard and low strike deflected to McMullan who made no mistake as he picked his spot in the far top corner of the Broomhill net to put Newry two goals up.
Harper was the liveliest of the Broomhill attackers and on the hour mark he slipped the Newry defence but was once more denied by Ruddy who was quickly of his line to snuff out the threat. Play moved immediately to the other end with Lowry cut down outside the Broomhill penalty area. With everyone expecting a cross to the back post Walker spotted McMullan’s run across the face of the goal finding him with a pitched free kick, the big man unlucky to see his hooked effort back over his shoulder cleared from under the cross bar for a home corner.
David O’Connor was having an excellent game at left back and almost rounded off his Man of the Match display with a goal on 70 minutes. Walker found Sean Hand on the corner of the box with a quick corner kick, Hand rolled the ball across the edge of the box where O’Connor met it with a smashed first time shot unfortunately straight at the Broomhill keeper who could only palm the ball up in the air, McMullan again unfortunate with his headed effort which crept over the crossbar.
Newry continued to dominate play creating a series of goal scoring chances all from headed efforts. First Curran powered in a header which Allen was forced to tip over his crossbar. From the resulting corner Patton rose highest but his effort skimmed the crossbar and finally in the 90th Joe Campbell floated the ball into the box for Lowry to stretch guiding his header over Allen to notch Newrys third and final goal of the day.
Whilst dealing with the present Mullen clearly has an eye on the future of the club “With further changes to the team today it took us a while to settle and playing against a strong wind the first half was difficult. We were better in the second half and it was good to keep a clean sheet. The fact that we had so many players missing today and won was also pleasing given recent results. We had two 18 year olds making their debuts and also had 16 year old Jordan Copeland in the squad. To build a sustainable club we need these young lads coming through and hopefully when we get everyone back we can match performances with positive results.
Newry City’s next match is away to Craigavon AFC on Saturday 17th January @ 2pm. Newry City travel club bus will leave the Stone Bridge @ 12:45pm.
Newry City AFC: Ruddy, Crilly, O’Connor, Hastewell, McCaul, Walker, Patton, Edgar, Sean Hand, Lowry, McMullan Subs: Smyrnginas, Campbell, Curran, Rian Hand, Cargin, Copeland.