Smash and grab and a game of two halves are two clichés which may sum up Saturdays game at The Showground’s. Set fair for a home win after only 8 minutes when Decky Carville looked to have timed his run from midfield perfectly before sliding the ball past Paddy Flood only to be called back for a dubious offside flag. From there the rest of the half belonged largely to the visitors Clifford Adams’ away side took an early lead with their first clear-cut chance of the game 11 minutes in. Referee Mark Dillon penalised Darren King for a pull on Gary Brown on the left hand side and when Christopher Middleton whipped the ball in, City keeper Steven Maguire didn’t collect allowing Chris Rodgers to nod the ball into the empty net. Maguire however was to make amends several times in the next half hour with a series of saves to keep Newry in the game.
The second half was a different story, Newry pressing at every opportunity to get that vital first win after the mid season break. Hopes of that win would have been reduced to looking for an equalizer by the time City levelled a minute from the end of normal time, Johnston making space down the left before squaring the ball to Walker just inside the box. When Flood couldn’t hold the midfielder’s fierce shot there was substitute Mullen to steer home the rebound from six yards out.
There was even better to come for Newry two minutes later as Mullen got a touch on a high ball outside the area before lifting it towards goal and over the head of the Ballyclare defenders who could only watch on as another substitute Johnston poked it underneath Flood, the ball seeming to take an eternity to cross the line which it eventually did to spark wild celebrations at The Showgrounds, Newry seeing out the final minute of stoppage time to secure the points.