Following last week’s tame defeat to local rivals Camlough Rovers Newry City manager Darren Mullen would have demanded a reaction from his players in Saturday’s home game against basement side Crewe at the Newry Showgrounds on Saturday. And whilst the Newry side never looked like repeating their five goal margin of victory achieved earlier in the season against Crewe Mullen was happy to get back to winning ways “Whilst it wasn’t our best performance it is a welcome three points after last week’s disappointing result. We needed a response and there’s no better way to do that than to win your next game. Crewe are a completely different side from the one we beat earlier in the year and were much better organised. If there’s one thing we need to learn from this season it’s patience and at half time the players were told not to panic and we would get our chances. That proved to be the case early in the second half and whilst we didn’t kick on we were never really threatened”.
That patience was needed from Newry on Saturday after a first half where they dominated possession but were unable to break down a robust Crewe defence. Indeed goal chances for the entire first half were limited to one clear chance for each side. Newrys came after a quarter of an hour. Chris McMahon won a crunching tackle in midfield before finding Paulis Smaryginas in space on the right side of the box, his first time shot across the Crewe goal saved at the second attempt by keeper Jamie Quinn. Crewe’s only chance of the half came on 20 minutes after a long ball up the middle was misjudged by the Newry defence, Conor McCaul’s pace allowing him to make up the ground to deflect Declan O’Connor’s shot for a corner.
The game swung Newrys way on 52 minutes. David O’Connor hit a long free kick into the penalty box for which Mark Patton rose highest to bullet a header back into the top corner of the Crewe net to put his side a goal up. Gary Crummy was having a great game on the Newry left wing taking every opportunity to run at his marker. Equally Mark Lowry was showing up well on the right and of the two teams Newry looked the more likely to score again.
The next chance however came from an unusual source, Paul Donegan remaining in an advanced position after a corner, the centre back showing great skill to recover the crossed ball outside the box before picking out Sean McMullan with a cross which the centre forward caught perfectly on the volley bringing a fine save from Quinn. Newry continued to probe, Lowry and McMullan combining to release Crummy at the back post, the young striker unfortunately unable to get the power needed in his shot to beat Quinn. The final scoring chance of the game was made by the pace and trickery of Newry’s best player on the day. Picking the ball up midway inside the Crewe half Crummy jinked past his marker taking the ball inside the box before finding McMullan who in turn laid the ball wide to Lowry, his shot skimming the top of the Crewe bar with Quinn beaten. So on the score board a narrow win for the home side but none the less important as pointed out by manager Mullen “The players know that the season is far from over and we’ll be pushing to ensure that they give 100% in every game until the end of the season. Young Gary Crummy was terrific today and he knows that he has to keep working and training hard to fulfil his potential. Hopefully we will now put a winning run together and see where that takes us.”
Newry City AFC Team: Murphy, Edgar, McCaul, Donegan, O’Connor, Patton, Smyrginas, McMahon, McMullan, Lowry, Crummy. Subs: Crilly (Smyrginas), Barr, Fay, Johnston.
Next Saturday, 21st February NCAFC travel to Broomhill. The supporters bus will be departing from the Stonebridge at 1pm sharp. All are welcome to come along and show your local club the support they deserve!!