Newry City quickly bounced back from Tuesdays League Cup exit with an emphatic win away to Lisburn Distillery. Newly promoted to the Premier Intermediate League early fixtures were always going to be a learning period for both the Newry players and manager Darren Mullen and having now secured maximum points from their first two league games the Newry boys will be content with the start they have made “Our first game away was always going to be a test so it was pleasing to come away with three points. We were well worth our win and the score line certainly doesn’t flatter us. We could have been two up after ten minutes and the only criticism I have of the first half performance is that we were wasteful in the final third.
“The 2nd half was a lot better with our pace and fitness evident. To have four different scorers was also good and shows that we have a threat throughout the team. This was a good physical test for us and one that we’re well capable of handling with some strong challenges throughout the game. It’s a good start for us but we need to continue to work hard in every single game we play and that will need to be the case in our next game in the cup at home to St Marys on Friday night”
On top in the early play Newry could have gone ahead in the first minute, Mark Hughes and Keith Johnson exchanging passes, unfortunately the return ball a little behind Hughes preventing him from getting the necessary power on his shot to beat Jack McCrea in the Lisburn goal.
Newry’s opening goal came after ten minutes when Conor McCaul was bundled over on the edge of the box, referee Dillon awarding a penalty to Newry which Jimmy Walker placed inside McCrea’s post for his second converted penalty in as many games. Newry were much the better team all over the park but playing against a strong breeze they struggled to create many clear cut chances although Kevin McArdle started and almost finished an opportunity on the half hour mark, winning a strong challenge inside his own half before launching an attack which ended with him receiving the ball from Walker in the Lisburn box alas finding the side netting with his low shot.
The home side had chances of their own, Jonny McCaw going close with a glancing header and then the final chance of the half also going to the home side, Timmy Clarke finding Alan McMurty who for a moment appeared to be through on goal only for Neil Mullen to snuff out the threat with a perfectly timed block.
Newry doubled their lead straight after the break, Johnston finding Hughes inside the box, Hughes showing quick feet to skip inside two Lisburn players before firing in a shot which McCrea could only parry, the alert Mark McCabe presented with the simple task of planting the ball into the net to put Newry 2-0 ahead.
In response Lisburn had little to offer, Ian Curran and Neil Mullen comfortably dealing with anything which came their way.
Newry’s 3rd goal duly came short of the hour mark, Hughes spotting the chance to take a short corner to Walker. In turn Walker spotted the run of Johnston to the near post and glided the perfect ball into his path, Johnston using the pace on the cross to flick the ball with the outside of his boot across McCrea and into the far side of the net for a picture goal.
On 70 minutes the home side were reduced to ten men when Walker picked the ball up inside his own half and played the ball into space for Johnston to race away from the Lisburn defenders only to be cruelly chopped down by Stephen Curley who, although already booked for an earlier challenge, was shown a straight red by the referee Dillon.
The visitors came close to making it four with five minutes left, Paudie Smith swung a cross into the box for which McCabe rose higher than goalkeeper McCrea but was unfortunate to see his header drop over the crossbar. Newry were not to be denied that 4th goal, Chris McMahon picking the ball up inside the Lisburn half before setting out on a mazy run in which he beat half a dozen players almost creating a goal for himself only for his shot from inside the box to be blocked for a corner. That corner however led to goal number four, Ian Curran meeting Decky Carville’s cross with a powerful downward header which gave McCrea no chance.
What will annoy the Newry management will be that their team, for the second league game in a row, conceded a late goal. This time Aaron Harris popping up in injury time for a consolation goal for the home side. That though takes little away from a solid performance from the Newry boys which sets them up for Friday night’s Bob Radcliffe cup tie under the lights at The Showgrounds with St Mary’s the opponents, kick off 7:45pm.
Newry City Team: Peter Murphy, Kevin McArdle, Conor McCaul, Neil Mullen, Ian Curran, Chris McMahon, James Walker, Mark Patton, Keith Johnston, Mark McCabe, Mark Hughes. Subs: Declan Carville, Padraig Smith, Sean McMullan, Stephen McCabe, Tiernan Rushe.
Photographs courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.