A late equalizer for Harland & Wolff Welders denied Newry City all 3 points at The Showgrounds on Friday night. And while the Welders game plan to stop Newry’s big players from playing ultimately worked Newry will look back with frustration not only at the chances which they wasted but also at how they conceded that equalizer in the final seconds of injury time.
The result however brings Newry’s unbeaten run to six games and that was the message which manager Darren Mullen preferred to major on as his depleted squad prepares for next Fridays game at Loughall “’It feels like a defeat to be honest due to the nature of how we conceded but when the dust settles we have to try to take the positives and that’s six games now we are unbeaten. We were poor in the first half and didn’t play anywhere near as well as we can.
The second half was a lot better and we should have had the game killed off with the chances we had. Credit to Harland and Wolff who came with a game plan to contain us and never gave up, so we have to take it on the chin and learn from it. I gave the players a bit of a rollicking at the end but we are missing six defenders at the minute some lads playing out of position, so I can’t be too harsh on them. They have been brilliant for me and I know they will carry their own disappointment into next week’s game where they will want to get back to winning ways.”
With Newry never really getting into their stride the visitors were the first to threaten either goal after 15 minutes, Newry requiring important interventions from Stephen Hughes and Marcus McKeown to cut out successive Welders attacks. In reply Newry had a momentary glimpse of goal after 20 minutes, Thomas McCann releasing Keith Johnston with a long pass, Johnston’s first touch taking him clear of the Welders defence, the striker electing to pull the ball back from a wide angle rather than shoot, his pass intercepted by William Armstrong. Newry’s best chance of the half came on 35 minutes, a weak clearance from the Welders finding Stephen Hughes on the edge of the box, Hughes controlling the ball with his first touch before volleying across goal with his second, the ball clipping the outside of the far post with Welders keeper Robert Robinson stranded.
While Newry were better in the second half clear chances were still thin on the ground although they did conjure up a glorious goal scoring opportunity on the hour mark. Starting from Decky Carville in his own half the ball was swept wide to Johnston. In turn he pulled the ball back into the path of Jimmy Walker who curled the ball to the back post finding Mark Hughes who slammed his header onto the underside of the crossbar, the clearance completed by the Welders defence. With 72 minutes on the clock Newry eventually got the break through.
Once more it was Johnston who got clear of his marker, his cross to the back post turned back into the danger area by Carville finding Walker who picked out the corner of the Welders goal to put Newry a goal up.
aving made the break through Newry spurned a series of half chances to make the points safe and in the final attack of the game paid the ultimate price, the Welders pushing men forward in search of an equaliser, lady luck coming their way when defender William Armstrong’s hopeful ball into a heavily congested Newry box cannoned into the chest of a Newry player and rebounded into the Newry net to level the scores.
Newry now turn their attention to Friday nights league match away to Loughall, Kick off 7:45pm. Newry City travel club bus will leave The Stone Bridge at 6:30pm.
Newry City AFC: Maguire, King, M Hughes, Mooney, McKeown, McCann, Walker, Carville, McCabe, S Hughes, Johnston. Subs: Havern, Cunningham, Richmond, Irwin, Crooks.