Ollie Ralph scored some amazing goals for Newry Town and few were better than the two he registered in this TNT Gold Cup Tie against visiting side Ards at The Showgrounds on Saturday 31st August 1985.
Match report culled from The Ireland’s Saturday Night
Newry showing five changes from the side dismissed from the Ulster Cup by B League Dundela heartened their fans by winning this Gold Cup opener in comfortable fashion.
The Town’s first score came from a corner forced by Joey Cunningham. Jervis McCaul crossed and Ollie Ralph smashed a terrific strike past a helpless Trevor McDowell in 18 minutes.
John Whitten returning after injury hit Newry’s second in the 32nd minute, following a series of passes between Anthony Marron, Ollie Ralph and Joey Cunningham.
This was followed six minutes later by an absolute rocket from Anthony Marron. Keeper McDowell fisted out a corner kick from Jervis McCaul and Marron blasted the ball home from 25 yards range.
Then Ralph showing a brilliant turn of foot ran on to McCaul’s precision pass, beat central defender Ronnie Mudd, side stepped Keeper McDowell and superbly tucked the ball into the corner of the net in the 41st minute.
Ards broke away on the right flank and Alan Doran’s good cross was neatly side footed in by Raymond Hill on the 42nd minute mark.
Ards pressed strongly after the restart and when Stephen Baxter was fouled in the box by Tom Hughes, the same player converted the resultant penalty after 49 minutes.
Disaster hit Ards after 56 minutes when John Hewitt was booked by referee Norman Loughlins for upending Anthony Marron and was sent off for dissent. Four minutes later another Ards player Ian Brown found himself in the referees notebook for taking down Joey Cunningham.
Towards the close Ralph outpaced the Ards rearguard but his rising drive crashed against the crossbar rebounding into safety.
Ards came back strongly in the closing minutes but Town defenders Terry Buchanan and John Cinnamond were solid and kept them at bay.
Result: Newry Town 4 (Ralph 2, Whitten and Marron) – Ards 2 ( Hill and Baxter)
Man of The Match: Ollie Ralph
Newry Town: Harding, Morrow, Cinnamond, Buchanan, Hughes, Ralph, Cunningham, Marron, Whitten, McCaul and Fay.
Referee: Norman Loughlins