Newry City AFC moved into the third round of the Irish Cup on Saturday with a comprehensive defeat of fellow Mid Ulster Intermediate B side Richhill on Saturday. This was a game which Newry dominated from the start their first good chance coming after only four minutes when a low drive from the edge of the box by Jimmy Walker, after he had received a short free kick from John Smyth, was deflected over the home sides bar with only inches to spare. Chances came and went for almost the rest of the half for Newry with the Richhill net seemingly leading a charmed life.
On nine minutes the Newry midfield of Chris McMahon, Graeme Edgar and Jimmy Walker combined in a passing movement to release Mark Lowry inside the box, his shot beating both the keeper and the post to fly wide. Lowry was again involved in the next chance five minutes later when he chased a long clearance from the Newry keeper Shane McCoy to force a corner. Ever alert to a quick pass Smyth played the corner short to Niall Crilly who shot on goal only for his effort to again be deflected over the home bar for a another corner. This time Smyth’s cross bounced around the box until Conor McCaul managed to get a clear shot, alas off target. Right back Crilly was enjoying lots of freedom on the Newry wing and he linked up with McMahon on 24 minutes to force another Smyth corner. This time Smyth drove the ball low and hard across the face of the goal somehow missing everyone and going out for a home throw in.
The Richhill dam eventually burst on 40 minutes when Edgar released Smyth with a quick throw in over the head of home defence Smyth winning yet another corner this time on the Newry left. The corner taken Walker evaded the Richhill defenders and found Smyth who nodded home at the far post to put Newry 1-0 up. Perhaps momentarily content that their domination had been turned into a lead Newry were caught cold almost immediately when a Richhill corner was not properly cleared and a snapshot from the edge of a crowded Newry box with McCoy unsighted meant that the keeper could only deflect the shot onto the inside of the post, the rebound just about crossing the goal line before McCoy could get his hands to it.
Newry regained the lead immediately after the restart and again Crilly and McMahon were at the heart of the move. Crilly picked the ball up deep in his own half and found McMahon on the right side of midfield. McMahon immediately drilled a low cross field pass to Smyth who had perfectly timed his left wing run from deep allowing him to smash a first time shot into the Richhill net to regain the Newry one goal advantage. This time there was no way back for Richhill as Newry piled the pressure on continually creating goal chances. On the hour mark Crilly who was having a super game released McMahon with a clear sight of goal. When his shot from outside the area was flapped at by the home keeper McMahon was first onto the rebound and was unlucky to have his effort blocked for a corner.
On 67 minutes a sweeping attack started deep in his own half by Edgar was almost finished by the same player. Releasing Neil Barr Edgar kept pace as Barr made ground down the right wing and was on hand to collect his cross on the edge of the box forcing the Richhill keeper into a fine save low to his left. Newry were now totally on top combining at will with neat passing movements. On 70 minutes Edgar and McCaul released David Anderson wide on the left. Anderson cut inside and travelled infield before playing a reverse pass to Peter Thompson who’s shot was charged down by the home defence.
With 15 minutes left Smyth, McMahon and Walker linked up in a passing movement which again released Thompson for a shot which this time was saved by the home keeper. Minutes later a similar attack between Walker McMahon and Lowry found Smyth in space at the far post and when his hat trick seemed likely he could only find the side netting with his shot. However his third goal was not long in coming. Lowry showed great determination chasing down on the home defence and when he forced the defender into a mistake Smyth quickly collected the now loose ball and made a few yards forward before blasting the ball high into the roof of the Richhill net for Newry’s third and final goal and his hat trick.
This was a fine team performance from Newry. Shane McCoy in nets was a very able deputy for the unavailable Murphy, in defence McCaul, Annett and later McElroy won everything that came their way whilst Crilly and Anderson where often the starting point for Newry attacks. The midfield of Edgar, McMahon, Walker and Larkin were responsible for many crisp passing movements whilst Lowry, Barr and Thompson worked hard up front. However the premiere display was that of Man of the Match John Smyth who provided the goals to win the game.
Next up for City is an away match v Broomedge in the league on Saturday 19th October. The NCAFC Travel Bus will be departing the Stonebridge at 1pm Sharp. All are welcome!
Newry City AFC Team: Shane McCoy, Niall Crilly, David Anderson, Joel Annett, Conor McCaul, Jimmy Walker (Larkin), Graeme Edgar (McElroy) Chris McMahon, Neil Barr (Thompson), Mark Lowry, John Smyth Subs: Peter Thompson, Paul McElroy, Lonnie Larkin, Stefan Martin.
Pictures: Brendan Monaghan