Newry City cemented their position at the top of Mid Ulster football with a comfortable victory over Broomhill at The Newry Showgrounds on Friday night. Although the win was secured with four first half goals like many previous games this season the foundation for the win was yet another clean sheet, a fact which was not lost on manager Darren Mullen “Whilst it’s good to score another four goals it’s also very pleasing not to concede a goal. We have been very solid defensively conceding only nine goals in thirteen league games and that work starts from the front three. Anyone watching us this season will see how hard the whole team works off the ball. Our first half performance was some of the best football we have played this season. In comparison to last week we moved the ball quicker in the right areas and our movement off the ball caused them all sorts of problems.
“Kevin McArdle scored two, set up the first and has been a great addition to the team which shows the benefit of Robbie Casey’s role at the club. With the adverse weather our pitch hasn’t been in great condition but that hasn’t stopped us playing the way we like to and it’s a credit to the players in adapting to it. Although we didn’t score in the second half we still played well and were rarely troubled. We are now at the half way point in the league and I’ve no doubt the players will continue to work equally as hard in our quest for success.”
The home side opened the scoring after ten minutes with a beautifully worked goal started by Chris McMahon. Receiving the ball on the half way line McMahon made ground into the Broomhill half before picking out McArdle at the back post with a diagonal pass. In turn McArdle cushioned a header back across the box to Newry’s goal machine McMullan who nodded the ball back over the advancing Broomhill keeper to put Newry a goal up.
It was all Newry pressure with chances coming thick and fast. On 20 minutes a home corner was cleared to the edge of the box from where Jimmy Walker picked his spot in the bottom corner of the Broomhill net only to be denied by an excellent diving save from Mark Gough. Minutes later and Gough was once more in action, Walker cutting the Broomhill defence apart with a ball inside the left back which Paddy Mooney ran on to before drilling a ball across the box which Keith Johnston met with a first time shot unfortunately straight at a grateful Gough.
On 25 minutes those involved in goal number one repeated the dose for number two. Again McMahon made his way forward before playing a neat ball into the feet of McMullan who wasted no time laying the ball into the path of McArdle as he arrived inside the box, McArdle firing a first time shot into the Broomhill net to double Newry’s advantage.
And five minutes later Newry’s stand out player on the evening McArdle grabbed his second courtesy of a strong challenge from Thomas McCann which won possession and then a clever pass from Walker which picked out the run of McArdle into the box, the Dundalk man taking one touch to beat his marker before shooting across Gough into the far bottom corner of the net to wrap the points up for the home side with only 30 minutes on the clock.
That however didn’t end the scoring in the first period, goal number four for Newry coming on 40 minutes when McMahon released Johnston on Newrys left, the winger speeding past his marker before threading a ball across the face of goal and with McMullan waiting to tap in a Broomhill defender got there before him to turn the ball into his own net to put Newry four goals up at the break.
The second half never scaled the entertainment heights that the first had set, the momentum for the home side seemingly lost minutes into the second half when a poor tackle on the recently introduced Conor McCaul saw the stylish defender stretchered off but thankfully after treatment able to take his place on the bench. And so the second half was notable only for two moments, Johnston rattling a shot from 25 yards off the Broomhill crossbar and a fine save from Newry keeper Peter Murphy who had to show quick footwork along his goal line to save at the base of the post after a diagonal ball to the back post found Broomhills Ben Steen, his downward header turned around the post by Murphy for a corner.
Newry City’s next game is on Saturday 27th Feb away to Ballyoran in the Marshall Cup, kick off 2pm. Newry City travel club bus will leave The Stonebridge at 1pm sharp, all are welcome.
There will also be a fundraiser on Saturday night (27th Feb) in association with NCAFC in Belinis Bar & Restaurant Newry. The evening will include a quiz, raffle, auction and live music from David Anderson. Doors will open at 8.30pm, £5 entrance.
Newry City AFC Man of the Match: Kevin McArdle
Newry City AFC: Murphy, Mooney, McMahon, Mullen, Curran, McArdle, Walker, McCann, McMullan, Johnston, Lowry. Subs: McCaul, Edgar, McVerry, Patton, Hand.
Photographs Courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.