Newry City shared the spoils away to St Mary’s in Saturday’s league clash to stay top of the table and will look back at the match with mixed emotions having conceded an injury time equalizer. However, after a game of many missed chances by both sides a draw was probably the correct result and at the end of the season Saturday’s point may prove very useful to the Newry side.
Newry opened the scoring on the half hour mark with a beautifully constructed goal. David Anderson picked the ball up in his left back position and made ground to mid way inside the St Mary’s half before finding Shane Lundy wide on the left. Lundy took a touch to beat his defender and delivered a pin point cross to the penalty spot where Mark Patton rose between two defenders to bullet a header to the back of the net to put Newry 1-0 up.
This goal for Newry was sandwiched between three excellent scoring chances for St Marys. Awarded a free kick wide on the left St Mary’s winger Fay delivered a cross which took all of Joel Annett’s stature to head away from under his own cross bar. On 40 minutes a sweeping move down the St Mary’s right resulted in a deep cross which found Sean Brady at the back post, his volley smashing into the junction of the Newry post and cross bar. And Annett came to Newry’s rescue right on half time when he again cleared a high crossed ball from under his own cross bar to leave the half time score 1-0 in Newry’s favour.
Newry started the second half on the attack and created many chances which if converted would have secured the three points. Straight after the break Chris McMahon found Patton who with his back to goal laid the ball back to Jimmy Walker on the edge of the penalty area. Walker fired in a low shot which McKeever in the St Mary’s goal dived low to his left to deflect up in the air, the loose ball spiralling down towards the St Mary’s goal before being cleared off the line by a defender.
McMahon and Patton were at the heart of the next Newry chance, Patton winning a Murphy kick out which he deliberately nodded into the path of McMahon arriving at the edge of the St Marys box, McMahon’s first time shot narrowly off target.
St Mary’s also had their chances with Newry having goal keeper Murphy to thank for retaining the lead. First he had to dive full length low to his left to divert a shot from the edge of the box around his post for a corner. Then exposed by a poor pass out of defence which was intercepted on the half way line by a St Mary’s player who spotted Murphy off his line and flighted in a long range effort which forced the keeper to back pedal and twist in the air to tip the ball over his bar for a corner.
On the end of some robust tackling which drew only yellow cards from the referee, much to the annoyance of the away spectators, the Newry players remained disciplined and created a series of excellent chances in the final twenty minutes of the game all of which went unconverted.
Newry paid the price for these wasted chances deep in injury time when a scramble in the Newry box saw the ball fall to the feet of a home player who drove his shot to the back of the net to make the final score 1-1.
Against a strong St Mary’s team this was a hard won point for Newry who were best served by Man of the Match Paul McElroy who was strong and combative in his holding role in front of the defence.
Newry’s next match is on Saturday 7th December at 13:30 hrs away to Crumlin Star in the Irish Cup. NCAFC Travel Club are running a supporters bus to the match which will leave the Stone Bridge at 11:15am sharp.
Newry City AFC: Peter Murphy, Niall Crilly, David Anderson, Joel Annett, Conor McCaul, Graeme Edgar, Chris McMahon, Paul McElroy, Mark Patton, Jimmy Walker, Shane Lundy. Subs: Ian Curran, Neil Barr, Gary McVicker, Peter Thompson.
Photograph: Brendan Monaghan