A goal on his debut for John Boyle helped Newry City to a 2-1 win away to Queens on Saturday in the first of back to back fixtures that the league schedule has thrown up for both sides. It was to be a bitter sweet debut for the Warrenpoint native as he will miss next week’s return fixture at The Showground’s having been sent off in the second half for two yellow card offences. That reduction in numbers didn’t stop his side securing three valuable points which puts them firmly in the mix for an all-important place in the top six in the league once the second round of fixtures are complete.
With the flat surface at the Queens complex suiting their style of play the first half belonged almost exclusively to Newry, goal chances for Mark McCabe and Paddy Mooney both saved by Queens keeper Declan Brown coming before Newry’s best bit of play in the half, Kevin McArdle taking the ball out of defence and after a one two with Keith Johnston laying the ball wide for Mark Hughes who under pressure found the side netting from an acute angle.
Newry came even closer to opening the scoring after half an hour, Timmy Grant winning the ball inside the Queens half before lobbing a pass into the stride of McCabe, his first time shot on the half volley from the edge of the penalty area smacking against the post with Brown well beaten.
Having weathered the Newry attack in the first period Queens started the second in a much more positive fashion and were unfortunate not to take the lead within two minutes of the restart, Matthew Hughes swinging in a cross to which Daniel Hanna got a glancing header, the ball coming back of the Newry goal post. The students were not to be denied as minutes later they grabbed the opening goal, Michael Allison picking the ball up wide on the Queens right wing, some poor defending from Newry allowing him to cut in field along the penalty area before drilling a shot through a crowded penalty box giving Peter Murphy little chance to save.
Newry answered in the best possible manner equalizing almost immediately, Grant rising highest to power a header on goal which Brown could only parry, Boyle the first to the loose ball blasting it into the roof of the net for a debut goal. On 65 minutes the visitors carved out another opening, Jimmy Walker playing the ball wide to McArdle again in an advanced position. From the end line McArdle pulled a clever ball back to Thomas McCann on the edge of the box, McCann most unlucky to see his placed shot clip the outside of the base of the post.
Newry suffered a major blow on 70 minutes when referee Mark Dillon, who had earlier booked John Boyle for hand ball, ruled that an innocuous coming together between Boyle and a Queens forward warranted a second yellow card and therefore a red leaving Newry with ten men for the remaining 20 minutes.
The visitors however were not about to sit on the draw and pushed forward almost snatching the lead on 75 minutes, Stephen McCabe breaking down the left wing before cutting across the end line and pulling the ball back for McCann who drilled a low shot on goal which Brown could not hold, grateful that it was a defensive boot that got to the loose ball first to hack it clear. On the tight Queens pitch it wasn’t all one way traffic and the home side had a glorious chance to take the lead on 80 minutes when Murphy stretched to punch away a dangerous cross, his clearance falling to Daire Rooney who volleyed the ball back over the keeper, most unfortunate to see it clip the post as it flew wide.
Newry answered on 86 minutes with a goal which was similar in build up to their first, this time Mark Patton rose highest to head on goal and once more the Queens keeper was unable to hold, Patton straight onto the loose ball, returning it across the box to Mooney who laid it back perfect for Jimmy Walker to blast a low shot straight into the bottom corner of the Queens net to win the game for Newry much to the delight of Newry manager Darren Mullen “After beating Banbridge last week we knew Queens would be difficult opponents and that proved to be the case. We had the lion’s share of possession in the first half with numerous chances but couldn’t convert them. The warning at half time was to move the ball quicker and up the tempo but at the same time be wary of getting caught on the break. As per last week we didn’t start the second half well and paid the price again. Thankfully we responded quickly with Boyler scoring on what was an eventful debut for him. I thought his sending off was harsh with no need for a booking for the first yellow card. At 1-1 with ten men most teams would have tried to play out for a draw but we are a team who won’t settle for a point and I knew we would create chances. Jimmy gave us that bit of spark we were missing and took his goal brilliantly. That’s three league wins in a row and all away from home so we need to keep that run going against Queens again at home”
NCAFC Team: Peter Murphy, Kevin McArdle, Stephen McCabe, John Boyle, Paddy Mooney, Mark Patton, Mark Hughes, Thomas McCann, Timmy Grant, Mark McCabe, Keith Johnston. Subs: Marcus McKeown, James Walker, Ian Curran, Josh Durnin, Jordan King.