If goal difference is needed to separate the teams at the top of Mid Ulster Intermediate A at the end of the season then Newry City did themselves a power of good on Saturday when they blasted Seapatrick 13 – 0 at Havelock Park. Adding to the goal difference tally however was only an added bonus for Newry as the primary objective was to secure the point’s that go with a win.
Strangely in a game in which they scored so many goals it took Newry almost 20 minutes to break the dead lock. And before that they could easily have had the game won, a mixture of bad finishing, bad luck and a fine save from the Seapatrick keeper Gary Anderson keeping the scores level. That changed after 18 minutes when Newrys best player on the day Jimmy Walker swung a high ball into the penalty area for which Anderson and Sean McMullan competed. With neither winning clean possession the ball fell perfectly for Decky Carville arriving into the box at the right time to be presented with the simplest of tasks to walk the ball into the empty net. In reply Seapatrick had their first shot of the game, a speculative effort from 25 yards which bounced in front of Peter Murphy requiring sure handling to complete the save. Newrys second goal on the half hour mark was perhaps the best goal of the day. With time on the ball inside his own half Ian Curran spotted the wide run of Stephen McCabe and flighted a perfect pass just over the head of the Seapatrick defender who committed to the interception rather than tracking McCabe. Now with space to exploit McCabe raced to the end line before whipping the ball across the face of the Seapatrick goal perfect for McMullan to slide in at the back post to grab his first goal of the game. The avalanche had started, Newry going 3-0 up on 36 minutes when a Graeme Edgar throw in beat the entire Seapatrick defence allowing Walker to run onto the ball and square it for any one of three Newry players to finish, Thomas McCann doing the honours with a side foot shot past Anderson. It was Edgar once more who ventured forward to create number four, the defender ruthlessly chopped down in the box as he was about to shoot. The resultant penalty gave the league’s top scorer McMullan the opportunity to add to his goals figure which he took with ease. At this stage the Seapatrick keeper was getting little protection from his team mates, Newry scoring number five on 42 minutes when a Walker free kick was allowed to travel all the way to the back post where Carville turned it home for his second of the day. And there was still time for another before the break, this time McMullan was himself tripped inside the box, the big man dusting himself down to claim his hat trick with his second penalty of the day.
There was to be little respite for Seapatrick on the resumption Newry taking the score line to double figures within eight minutes. Number seven came courtesy of possession won by a crunching McCann tackle. Carville swept the ball wide to the over lapping Edgar who in turn found McCabe, the winger taking his chance well to start a second half goal rush. Minutes later it was eight, Walker again involved picking the ball up inside the Seapatrick half before tricking a path to the edge of the area and firing in a shot which Anderson could only block, as expected ace goal scorer McMullan was the first to the loose ball which he poked over the line. Even massive wins such as Saturdays require hard graft in midfield and Newrys ninth goal scored by Kevin McArdle was celebrated by the players as if it was their first of the day. Again Walker was the architect waiting on McArdle, the man who does all the hard work in the Newry midfield, to make his run into the box before playing a slide rule pass which McArdle clinically finished past Anderson. Goal number 10 owed much to a surging run from Chris McMahon from right back straight up field to inside the box where he unselfishly slipped the ball into the path of Walker who guided the ball with the outside of his right boot curling it in an arc to land inside the side netting.
Inevitably Newry took their foot off the pedal after this scoring burst eventually running out 13 goal winners with further strikes from McMullan for his 5th of the day, Carville for his hat trick and a final goal which had the current squads hall mark all over it, neat passing between Carville, Walker and McCann ended with a cross to the back post which Keith Johnston headed back across goal for Walker to tuck home to round off the scoring.
Despite the heavy defeat credit must go to Seapatrick who kept their discipline and competed right to the final whistle in a game in which others may have thrown in the towel and also to local referee Paul Kelsey who got all the major decisions correct and kept play flowing throughout. Obviously after the game Newry manager Darren Mullen was content with his team’s performance “It’s not too often you score 13 goals in a game and although we will certainly face tougher opponents the players deserve great credit for sticking to our game plan. Sometimes in a game like this players can lose focus and it can become a scenario where everyone wants to score. When that happens you lose shape and discipline which can carry into the next game. We didn’t allow that to happen and Seapatrick were unfortunate to be on the end of a ruthless performance. The fact that we didn’t score until nearly 20 minutes yet kept the patience in our play was very pleasing. To also play the last 20 minutes with 10 men having used up all our substitutions showed the fitness level in the squad. There will be sterner tests coming up but we have shown we can lift our performance when tested and we now look forward to Saturday’s cup quarter final at Tandragee”
Newry City now travel to play Tandragee in the Marshall Cup on Saturday, kick off @ 2:15pm. Travel club bus will leave The Stonebridge @ 1pm
Newry City AFC: Murphy, McMahon, Edgar, Mooney, Curran, McArdle, Walker, Carville, McMullan, McCann, McCabe, Subs: Patton, Johnston, McCaul, Hand, Hadden