Newry City dropped their first league points of the season in a scoreless draw at Crewe on Saturday. After a game which Newry had chances to win but which they might have lost in the closing minutes Newry manager Darren Mullen was not overly despondent “It was a frustrating game for us especially with the way we played and the possession we had. The players were disappointed after the game and that shows the expectations they have set for themselves this season. However, when the dust settles we will realise we are still unbeaten and have kept another clean sheet. Crewe are a decent side and will take points off other teams this season.
A game which started off with midfield sparring Newry created their first chance on goal after 20 minutes, Thomas McCann chipping a pass into the path of Stephen McCabe as he arrived into the penalty area unfortunately finding the shooting angle too acute as his effort hit the side netting.
On the half hour mark Chris McMahon burst up field breaking through a brace of Crewe challenges before he arrived at the by line from where he pulled the ball back across goal alas finding a Crewe defender who cleared.
Crewe looked to be in on the Newry goal minutes later when a clearance from the Newry defence was charged down at the halfway line, the ball breaking straight towards the Newry goal where Paddy Mooney appeared to be the third favourite in a race for the ball with two Crewe forwards. Mooney however quickly made up the ground and slid to hook the ball from the Crewe mans foot before completing the clearance.
Newry started the second period on top creating several half chances without getting that extra yard of room to get a clear shot on goal. And on the rare occasion that Crewe showed any ambition to venture into the Newry area they found a defence marshalled by Mooney in top form.
Faced with this blanket defence it was always going to take a moment of magic to create an opening and as so often in these circumstances Newry looked to Jimmy Walker for a piece of brilliance.
On 65 minutes the mercurial midfielder picked the ball up inside his own half and set off pinging one twos until he arrived inside the Crewe penalty where he drew the Crewe keeper Cory Wilson, waited for him to commit to the dive before shooting only to be foiled by an outstretched hand from Wilson.
With time running out Newry were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Crewe box. Once more the responsibility was handed to Walker who all but delivered, his shot curling around the wall hitting the inside of the post and rebounding into the penalty area with a Crewe defender just reaching the loose ball before Timmy Grant could get a final touch.
If this was not cruel enough on Newry they almost suffered a final blow with time almost up when a Crewe free kick from the half way line was met at the back post by substitute Seamus Moore who’s header looped over Newry custodian Peter Murphy but landed on top of the net leaving the game scoreless at the final whistle.
Newry City: Murphy, Crilly, McMahon, Mullen, Mooney, Carville, McCann, Walker, McCabe, McMullen, Grant. Subs: Johnston, Edgar, Curran.
Newry City’s next match is a home fixture next Saturday against Ballymacash Rangers on Saturday 14th November. KO 2.15pm.
Photographs courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.