Newry City AFC moved within one victory of winning the Mid Ulster Intermediate B title with a comprehensive victory over Bourneview Young Men at the Showgrounds on Thursday night. After a game in which both sides could have had many more goals than the five which all came the way of the home team Newry now turn their sights to Saturdays away fixture at Richhill where a win will secure the league title for the reformed club in it’s first season.
Although Newry eventually dominated they started the game slowly, their first attempt on goal coming after thirteen minutes when Chris McMahon rose highest to win a Jimmy Walker corner but was unable to get above the ball, his effort going narrowly over the crossbar. However, the second chance which came the Newry captain’s way on 17 minutes was much more to his liking. Niall Crilly took a short ball from his keeper Peter Murphy and fed Sean Hand wide on the right wing. Hand skipped past a few Bourneview challenges bringing him level with the edge of the box from where he drilled over a low cross which the Bourneview defence could only clear to the danger area just outside their own box. Having anticipated the clearance McMahon was the first to react meeting the ball at full pace and cracking the sweetest of shot’s off the underside of the crossbar and down into the net with a little help from the back of the prostrate Bourneview goalkeeper for the opening goal of the evening.
Surprisingly Newry did not immediately build on this goal and sandwiched between home chances Bourneview spurned two excellent chances of their own. On the half hour mark Newry broke quickly from inside their own half with Neil Barr spearheading a three on two attack. Barr took the ball to the edge of the Bourneview box before choosing to pass to his right to Hand who was unfortunate to see Andrew Neill in the Bourneview goal advance quickly from his line to smother his shot. Spurred by this Bourneview made two excellent chances in as many minutes, first Crilly came to his sides rescue instinctively positioning himself behind Murphy to make a goal line clearance and then Dale Compton and Wayne Holland engineered a clean break away from the Newry defence leaving Holland with only the keeper to beat, Murphy fast off his line to narrow the target, the Bourneview man unfortunate to see his lobbed shot bounce wide of the Newry goal.
Newry continued to play possession football content to build slowly from the back. On 38 minutes Gary McVicker took the ball from deep in his own half and picked out Walker on the Newry left. Walker turned inside and played a one two with Mark Patton across the edge of the box which gave him a clear sight of goal, Bourneview again saved by the legs of keeper Neill. McVicker was not to be denied. With three minutes of the half remaining he found space to receive a quick throw out from Murphy and immediately played a long ball down the left wing where Barr had got himself isolated with the Bourneview right back Ross McDonald. Barr won the race for the ball, shrugged off McDonalds challenge on the side line and bore down on goal before drilling a right foot shot from the corner of the box past Neill and into the far side of the Bourneview net to double Newry’s advantage at half time.
Ten minutes into the second half Barr claimed his 28th goal of the season. Again McVicker was involved linking up with Shane Lundy, McVicker overlapping his winger before laying the ball back to Lundy who swung in a tantalising cross which Neill could only punch to the edge of the box where Barr controlled with his first touch and with his second smashed the ball into the roof of the net for goal number three.
Bourneview continued to compete and went close to scoring on 65 minutes when a powerful Mark Boyce header from a corner forced Murphy to fling himself to his right to save. This was the start of an action packed ten minutes which saw chances both missed and taken.
On 67 minutes McMahon won the ball in yet another tackle and found Hand on the halfway line. Hand instantly played a through ball to Barr on the edge of the Bourneview box with passing options on both sides. Barr went for goal forcing another excellent save from Neill in the Bourneview net. Two minutes later Hand and McVicker set up Patton on the edge of the box, the big man full of confidence from a hat trick last time out shooting first time to the corner of the Bourneview goal to put Newry 4-0 up. Two minutes later Newry were at it again Walker shooting from outside the box with Neill doing well to get his body behind the ball but unable to hold it, the ball spilling out to Hand who was pulled down in the act of shooting, the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Alas goal number 29 did not come Barr’s way, the Newry top scorer pulling his spot kick wide.
The final goal scoring opportunity came the home side’s way on 75 minutes. Mark Lowry won possession inside the Bourneview half and laid the ball back to Crilly. Crilly immediately looked for Patton finding his striker with an incisive pass through the Bourneview defence, Patton running onto the ball and calmly sliding his shot under Neill for the fifth and final goal of the game.
Newry manager Darren Mullen was typically keen to keep a lid on expectations after the game “It’s another good performance and takes us within touching distance of the title. We never looked troubled but our passing in the final third in the first half was letting us down. The second half was a lot better in terms of tempo and our movement off the ball. As with a lot of our games this season our superior fitness told in the later stages of the game allowing us to finish the game off. It set’s us up for a chance to seal the title this weekend. Saturday is a massive day for the club and we will be treating Richhill with the utmost of respect and the game itself as just that, another game.”
Best for Newry in another team performance were Gary McVicker and Paul McElroy in defence whilst Mark Patton was again involved in most of the attacking plays. However Man of the Match was Chris McMahon who simply never stopped running, tackling, passing and enthusing those around him and topped all of this with a picture goal which all but the meanest of dubious goals panels would award to the Newry captain.
Supporters Bus to Richhill leaves the Stonebridge tomorrow (Saturday 26th) a 1.15pm sharp!! All are welcome.
Newry City Team: Peter Murphy, Niall Crilly, Joel Annett, Paul McElroy, Gary McVicker, Chris McMahon, Jimmy Walker, Sean Hand, Mark Patton, Neil Barr, Shane Lundy. Subs: Mark Lowry, Conor McCaul, David Anderson, Graeme Edgar, Joe Campbell, Stefan Martin, Andy McLarty.
Bourneview YM Team: Andrew Neill, Ross McDonald, Mark Smith, Andrew Topley, Dale Compton, Gary Hill, Steven Elliott, Jeff McElure, Mark Boyce, Jeff Neill, Wayne Holland. Subs: Tom McClelland, Wayne Kelly.
Photographs courtesy of Brendan Monaghan.