Newry City must wait for their first Bluefin Sport Championship point after losing their second game of the season on Saturday at home to PSNI. A game which swung on a crucial off side after 25 minutes, Decky Carville crossing for Mark McCabe to turn the ball to the net, the Newry celebrations cut short by the linesman’s offside flag.
To rub salt in the wound from the resulting clearance it was the PSNI who grabbed the opening goal, goalkeeper Jordan Williamson’s long ball deceiving the Newry defence but not the police striker Owen Moody who ran onto the bouncing ball to cleverly lob Kieran Gordon to put the PSNI a goal up, a lead which they held to half time.
The visitors almost doubled their advantage shortly after the restart, Mark McCullagh getting behind the Newry defence before whipping in a low cross which Newrys Kevin McArdle had to turn around the back post with Joe McWilliams waiting to tap in.
Newry drew level after 50 minutes with a goal made and scored by their best players on the day. Decky Carville picking the ball up on the halfway line and driving forward before splitting the police defence with a ball which invited Mark Hughes to run onto and slide the ball past Williamson for a clinical finish. PSNI were unlucky not to regain the lead after 53 minutes, James Wright smashing a shot from all of 30 yards out which had Gordon beaten only to rattle off the upright.
Although Newry dominated possession they struggled to find that necessary incisive pass and it was the visitors who took the lead with 15 minutes left, Chris Watts turning the Newry defence inside out only to have his shot blocked by Gordon but only as far as Joe McWilliams who turned the ball home from close range.
Newry battled back with McArdle testing Williamson with a free kick which the keeper tipped over his crossbar and with time running out a low cross from McCabe was volleyed over the crossbar by Carville but in truth, an equalizer would have been harsh on the visitors who ran out worthy winners.
Newry Manager Darren Mullen commented after the game “This was a performance that was far from acceptable and I can only apologise to the fans. Unlike last week where we deserved something from the game we deserved absolutely nothing from this one. Whilst we had plenty of possession there’s no point in having the ball when there’s no end product. We looked comfortable without really threatening them in the first half and then fell behind to a sloppy goal that could easily have been prevented. We then got ourselves back into the game but never looked like building on that goal and got punished.As
“As manager I take responsibility for any defeat but the players will need to realise how difficult this season is going to be and apply themselves accordingly. Losing Darren King and Jimmy Walker in the warm up along with Rambo’s absence and injuries to Ian Curran, Conor McCaul and Paddy Mooney has stretched us but it’s up to others to step up and take their chance. What we need to do now as a group is make sure we learn from our mistakes and take that frustration into the game on Friday night (v Loughall at The Showgrounds KO7.45pm)”.
Newry City AFC Team: Gordon, McArdle, Cunningham, Patton, Boyle, McMahon, McCann, Havern, McCabe, Carville, Hughes. Subs: Johnston, Gray, Grant, Mullen, Richmond.
PSNI FC: Williamson, McCullagh, McCrory, McDermott, A Wright, Douglas, Wilson, J Wright, Watts, Moody, McWilliams. Subs: Khan, McClurg, Riddle, Montgomery, Cairns.
Photographs courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.