Newry City Reserves maintained their Championship challenge with a 8-1 victory over Banbridge Rangers at The Showgrounds on Saturday. Fielding a strong team with several players with first team experience the Newry boys went a goal up with only a minute on the clock, Sean McMullan holding the ball up in the box waiting on the arrival of Ryan Quinn who drilled his shot across the Rangers keeper Bradley Hughes into the far corner of the net. Scoring so early may have caused the home side to switch off but whatever the cause they were made to play for a lapse in concentration at the back minutes later when a long direct ball was allowed to bounce through towards the Newry goal, William Davidson quick to capitalise giving Kieran Gordon little chance with a clinical finish to bring his side level.
On 20 minutes a similar ball once more beat the Newry rear guard, this time Gordon was quickly off his line to snuff out any danger. That was as good as it got for Rangers with Newry virtually dominating the rest of the game, the only moot point being how many they would win by.
Goal number two almost came straight away, a Quinn shot from outside the box was blocked by Rangers keeper Hughes, Jordan King alive to the loose ball but unable to force the rebound over the line.
Newry did not have long to wait to take the lead, 24 minutes on the clock when neat passing between Cian Feehan, King and McMullan resulted in the ball falling to Paulis Smaryginas who almost bust the net with a pile driver from the middle of the penalty area. And goal number three came on the half hour mark, Chris McMahon who in trademark fashion worked tirelessly throughout, took the ball from the half way line before finding McMullan on the edge of the box, the big man twisting to make room before picking out the bottom corner of the Banbridge net for his first of the day.
Strangely that’s how the score line stayed for the next half hour as it took until the 60 minute mark for Newry to grab goal number four, patient passing across the edge of the Rangers penalty area halted by Timmy Grant when he picked the wide running Jordan Coyle, his low curling cross falling perfectly for McMullan arriving at the back post to side foot the ball into the net. 63 minutes and it was five, McMahon once more finding McMullan inside the box, McMullan feigning to shoot before slipping a pass to King arriving on his left, Kings shot hitting the underside of the crossbar and appearing to bounce behind the line, any doubt removed by Coyle who blasted the rebound into the net. McMullan claimed his hat trick on 75 minutes from the penalty spot after his flicked pass had set Sheelan Fegan through on goal, the Newry youngster denied a shooting opportunity by a cynical pull on the jersey. And Fegan was to play a major part in goal number seven, picking the ball up inside his own half before finding Coyle on half way, his incisive pass giving Smaryginas a race with a Rangers defender which the Newry man won before smashing a first time shot from outside the box into the top corner of the net for a picture goal.
The eigth and final goal came after 82 minutes, McMahon clearing a Rangers corner to Marty Havern who set off from outside his own box powering past tackles as he made his way the length of the pitch before swapping passes with McMullan and picking his spot past Hughes for goal number eight. After the match Newry manager Gary Redpath was in his own words happy enough with his team “On a sticky pitch we were decent but never really got into our fast passing rhythm. However, we were better in the second half and scored some cracking goals. I was pleased to see Chris McMahon getting back to fitness, he covered just about the whole pitch and kept the boys going the whole game. Obviously Sean McMullan gives us a great target to hold the ball up, bring others into play and score goals. Young Shealan Fegan also looks that wee bit different every time you see him play and in the half hour he was on he had a big hand in a few goals.
Newry City Reserves Team: Kieran Gordon, Jordan King, Johnny Brown, Neil Mullen, Ryan Quinn, Chris McMahon, Jordan Coyle, Timmy Grant, Paulis Smaryginas, Cian Feehan, Sean McMullan. Subs: Marty Havern, Gavin Conn, Sean Mooney, Shealan Fegan, Brian Hobden.
Photographs courtesy of NML Football https://www.facebook.com/pg/NMLSport/photos/?tab=album&album_id=759566227533755