Newry City Reserves management team, Gary Redpath and Kevin Darcy were delighted to come away from Wednesday night’s league game at The Showground’s with Valley Rangers having secured a narrow victory “It’s great to get three points from that game having played with such a young team. The players are showing great desire and hunger in training and are now carrying this onto the pitch and with commitment that will translate into wins. Tonight was a good physical contest and no quarter was given. There was some good hard tackling from both teams with Micky Hastewell leading our boys with some inspirational challenges. It took us a while to get a foothold in the game but when we got settled we started passing the ball about. This second season at this level has definitely seen an improvement in our play”
The match itself was level in nearly every aspect bar the final goal count with both teams trading blow for blow. On eight minutes Valley had their first scoring chance when an ill judged back pass was intercepted by Johnny Newell who had his shot well saved by the advancing Chris Davison in the Newry goal. Play then swung to the other end where neat passing between Josh Durnin and Micky Maguire presented Joe Campbell with a shooting chance on the edge of the area, his dipping shot tipped over the crossbar by Nathan Heggarty. On the half hour mark the Valley defence were nearly caught out by a long pass from Durnin which Campbell latched on to midway inside the half with Alan Johnson the only covering defender, Johnson doing well to force Campbell wide from where his shot was saved at the near post by Heggarty. With half time approaching Valley created a great chance to take the lead when Robert McCullough broke down the left wing, cut back along the end line and with options in the box chose to shoot his effort from a narrow angle hitting the side netting. And as with the pattern of play there was still time for a chance at the other end. Neat passing between Durnin and Campbell was interrupted by crude challenge on Campbell on the edge of the box. When Campbell’s free kick was charged down by the Valley wall Durnin was the first to react unfortunate to see his low drive from outside the box slam into the base of the post with Heggarty beaten.
Newry introduced the experienced Niall Crilly after the break and he was to have a major influence on the game. On 53 minutes Campbell broke down the right before laying the ball back to Crilly who swung a dangerous low cross along the face of the Valley goal which required some excellent defending to clear. This should have been a warning to Valley as to what was to come but first they had a great chance at the other end. Newell chipped a perfect pass over the Newry defence which Richard Graham ran on to. With Davison quickly off his line Graham attempted to lob him unfortunate to see the ball come down the wrong side of the crossbar. On 65 minutes Crilly won a crunching tackle on the half way line before playing a classic one two with Aaron Brilly. Now free on the right wing Crilly crossed to the penalty spot from where Hastewell powered his headed effort just wide. Crilly was not to be denied. With 15 minutes remaining Kevin Moan strode from his central defence position and played a perfect defence splitting pass into the path of the wide running Crilly. Crilly continued his run to the by line from where he fired a low cross into the Valley box where it was met by Mark McAteer who finished clinically for what turned out to be the decisive goal. That however was not until one more chance at the other end when a home defender sliced his clearance and with Newell about to pounce Rian Hand appeared from nowhere to sweep up the trouble securing an excellent win for Newry which sees them move into a comfortable early season mid table position with seven points from four games.
Man of the Match: Micky Hastewell