(Pictured is Newry City AFC Chairman Martin McLoughlin presenting Jimmy Walker with the Man of the Match award after Tuesday night’s game with Banbridge AFC. Photo: Brendan Monaghan)
Newry City AFC took to the field for their first home game in Mid Ulster Intermediate B league against Banbridge AFC to a tannoy rendition of “The Boys Are Back In Town” – and so it proved as they dominated the match for much of the ninety minutes and ran out very worthy 4-0 winners.
The match was played on an impeccable Showground’s surface and followed much the same path as Saturdays game as for the first twenty minutes the home team had ample chances to score without registering. The first goal scoring opportunity came after only five minutes when Newry Captain Chris McMahon won the ball in midfield and found John Smyth on the left wing, who displayed a couple of neat touches before unleashing a thunderous drive at goal which flashed past the Banbridge keeper Aaron O’Hagan, only to crash off the underside of the cross bar and away to safety. Shortly after this Niall Crilly was unlucky not to break the deadlock when his glancing header skimmed past the far post with the keeper beaten.
However, the attendance in excess of 200 were soon treated to an early contender for goal of the season. The imperious Conor McCaul made a trademark driving run from from central defence into midfield and played a long ball to Mark Lowry on the edge of the away penalty box. Lowry back heeled the ball to the in-rushing Jimmy Walker, who curled the ball into the bottom corner of the Banbridge net for a picture perfect goal.
Newry continued to create chances in the first half – the best of which fell to Neil Barr who volleyed into the side netting after a beautifully flighted pass over the defender’s head from Smyth found him unmarked at the back post.
HT: Newry City AFC 1 – Banbridge AFC 0
Barr – fresh from his hat trick in the first game of the season, soon made amends straight from the kick off when a long ball evaded the Banbridge central defenders and Barr nipped in to round the keeper and stroked home Newry’s second goal of the game.
City almost made it three when the impressive Crilly combined with Walker to set up Lowry – whose fierce drive was tipped over the bar by O’Hagan. Crilly was the provider for the next two Newry chances as first, Lowry headed wide, and then Barr’s goal bound header was hacked off the line by a Banbridge defender.
In the 60th minute Chris McMahon was felled outside the box by a robust Banbridge challenge which displeased some of the vociferous home support. McMahon, however, took full retribution when he dusted himself down and dispatched the resulting free kick into the bottom right corner of the net.
Three in front, the home side continued to press. Crilly – who was causing havoc in the Banbridge defence, beat three men before playing a pin point cross to the head of Barr, who was unlucky to see his effort crash off the underside of the crossbar and fall to safety. This was soon followed by a mirror image chance for substitute Shane Lundy, this time from a Joel Annett cross. Unfortunately for Lundy the ball zipped up off the turf and over his head as he was about to claim a goal. Incessant home pressure had to pay off and on 75 minutes Lowry had cause to celebrate when he ran onto Walkers through ball and drove the ball under O’Hagan for the final goal of the game to make it 4-0.
This was a great all round performance from the Newry team who now sit joint top of the Mid Ulster Intermediate B table with two wins from two games, seven goals scored and no goals yet conceded.
Newry City AFC would like to thank Match Sponsors SGD Distribution and Match Ball Sponsors the Poland family.
Newry’s next match is on Saturday 17th away to Oxford Sunnyside @ 14:15. The next home game is the following Tuesday 20th v St Marys @ 19.30.
Man of the Match: Jimmy Walker
Newry City AFC Team: Peter Murphy, Niall Crilly, Gary McVicker, Conor McCaul, Paul McElroy, Paul Daly, Chris McMahon ©, Jimmy Walker, Neil Barr, Mark Lowry, John Smyth. Subs: Joel Annett (P.McElroy), Chris Smyth, Chris Hughes (J.Walker), Shane Lundy (J.Smyth), Gareth Hughes.
Banbridge AFC Team: Aaron O’Hagan, Garth Cargan, Sean McAlinden, Simon Canning, Paddy Finnegan, Paddy Burns ©, Micheal Cunningham, John Lennon, Richard Gartland, Aaron Monaghan. Subs: Mathew Topely, Kyle Mallagen, Martin Burns, Mark Rooney, Mark Madowell.