By City Focus
Newry City earned a well deserved share of the spoils at the Showgrounds on Tuesday evening against a Portadown side that included nine first team regulars.
Newry took the lead at the end of the first quarter when Keith Johnston accepted a fine pass from Declan Carville and beat ‘keeper Billy Brennan with ease. City continued to match their senior opponents in every department with Carville and Latvian midfielder Paulius Smaryginas causing some concern for the visiting rearguard. The half way mark was reached with City still holding a well deserved single goal advantage.
A few minutes after the resumption former Newry striker Darren Murray hit the equaliser with a strong drive that hit the upright before entering the home net. Portadown upped the pace but rarely threatened the Newry defence – with Niall Crilly, Conor McCaul, Ian Curran and young Ben Wilson in outstanding form. Murray was booked as he showed frustration at his inability to break through. Carville then hit a fantastic shot on the turn that seemed destined for the Ports net but it flashed wide.
Newry introduced the first of their substitutions in the 60th minute when Mark Lowry and Stephen McCabe replaced Keith Johnston and Paulius Smaryginas. This was followed by the replacement in the 65th minute of the youngsters Josh Durnin and Ben Wilson by Kenny Kearns and Graeme Edgar.
The game continued to be evenly balanced and City Manager Darren Mullen made a further two substitutions in the 75th minute, bringing on Sean McMullan and promising young striker Josh Cargin for Declan Carville and Conor Sloan. Mark Lowry’s pace caused The Ports to concede a couple of corner kicks as City strove to get a late winner.
A few minutes later Newry made their final change when Neil Mullen replaced the hard working City Captain Chris McMahon. Portadown, with Gault and Garrett working hard tested Home ‘keeper Peter Murphy but the custodian like his team mates was in top form.
Final score: Newry City AFC 1 – 1 Portadown FC
Newry City AFC: Peter Murphy, Niall Crilly, Ben Wilson, Conor McCaul, Ian Curran, Chris McMahon, Josh Durnin, Conor Sloan, Declan Carville, Paulius Smaryginas, Keith Johnston
Subs: Sean McMullan, Josh Cargin, Stephen McCabe, Kenny Kearns, Neil Mullen, Mark Lowry, and Graeme Edgar
Portadown FC: Billy Brennan, Chris Casement, Keith O’Hara, Sean Mackle, Darren Murray, Mark McAllister, Ken Oman, Michael Gault, Robbie Garrett, Jake Richardson, and Christian Stewart.
Subs: John Gibson and Adam Brown.