Newry City bounced back to form with a comprehensive victory over Banbridge Rangers in front of a large crowd at the Showgrounds on Friday night. In need of a moral boosting victory after last week’s abandonment in Craigavon the home side produced a commanding performance in which they made the most of an early goal to dominate the form side in the league eventually running out 4-0 winners.
The early goal which paved the way for Newry came after 8 minutes. Jimmy Walker swung a left wing free kick into the box and when Chris Davison was unable to get enough into his attempted punched clearance Conor McCaul latched onto the loose ball before finding Mark Lowry who shot first time hard and low into the corner of the Rangers net to put his side a goal up. The away side had a great chance to draw level on 12 minutes when Andy Mallen whipped a high cross into the Newry box, Jerry Philip rising highest on the edge of the six yard box but was unable to direct his header under the Newry crossbar. McCaul and Lowry combined to make an excellent chance for the home side minutes later. From midway inside his own half McCaul picked out the run of Lowry with a perfect pass which the winger latched onto in stride taking the ball into the box only to be denied a goal scoring attempt by a perfectly timed tackle from Rangers defender William Frazer.
Sean McMullan who led the Newry attack all evening was the next to threaten Davison’s goal, the big man picking up a loose clearance just outside the box making room for a shot which slipped the wrong side of the far post with Davison stranded. McCaul however was not to be denied and was central in the goal on the half hour mark which Newrys play had deserved. Once more winning a tackle inside his own half McCaul, who oozed class all evening, strode forward with the ball skipping past a couple of Rangers players before laying the ball off to Walker. Walker in turn spotted the run of Chris Fay and slipped the ball through the Banbridge defence which the winger got to before the advancing Davison to poke the ball past the keeper and into the net to double his side’s advantage. The same player had a great chance to put Newry further ahead on the stroke of half time when a long kick out from Peter Murphy was misjudged by the Rangers defence leaving Fay with a run on the Banbridge goal. With the option of passing to the unmarked Lowry, Fay chose to shoot his effort saved by Davison with the ensuing goalmouth scramble petering out to leave the half time score 2-0 to Newry.
The second half started slowly only coming to life in a five minute period either side of the hour mark during which Newry scored two goals to seal the win. On 58 minutes Murphy picked out Lowry on the half way line with an inch perfect kick out, Lowry played a give and go with Chris McMahon before running at the Rangers defence and laying the ball into the path of McMullan who sped past his marker before hitting in a low shot which Davison blocked with his legs, the ball spinning up into the air to the back post where Fay reacted first to nod home his second goal of the evening. And goal number four soon followed, Fay again involved winning the ball inside his own half before spraying the ball wide to Lowry. With the whole of the Banbridge half open for him and only one defender to beat Lowry made some ground before crossing to McMullan arriving inside the box, McMullan using all his experience to round Davison and roll the ball into the empty net to put Newry 4-0 up.
Rangers tried to get back into the game and were twice denied by goal line clearances by Niall Crilly first from a Chris Chambers header from a corner and later when the Newry man swept up behind his goal keeper Murphy after he was beaten by a Jonny Porter effort. These chances however sandwiched an attack which should have ended in Newrys 5th goal of the night. Rian Hand played a long pass up field to Newry’s Man of the Match McMullan who showed great skill to control the ball on his chest and back heel it into the path of Neil Barr. Barr immediately helped it into the box to Fay who was chopped down from behind, referee Gerry Murray who had controlled the game in his usual calm and friendly manner, pointing straight to the spot. With two goals already in the bag and the match virtually over Newry allowed Fay the chance of his hat trick. But having won the chance himself Fay was unable to get the better of former Newry keeper Davison who got down quickly to his left to push Fays effort around his post for a corner.
And so ended a very pleasing evening for all connected with Newry with manager Darren Mullen happy with both the team play and the result ”This was a very good performance from start to finish with the final score certainly not flattering us. Whilst I’ve stated in previous weeks our performances haven’t been good enough we are a better team than we have been showing but we needed to start proving that. We showed our intent from the first whistle and were dominant throughout. Recent games against Banbridge Rangers haven’t been easy and tonight we had to match them for effort as well as playing the good football we are capable off. Thankfully we took enough of the chances we created and while we could have scored more a four goal win against any team above you in the league is always welcome. The players have now set themselves a high standard and we will need to maintain that in the cup next week against Tandragee.
Photographs courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.
Newry City AFC would like to thank our partner broadcaster Destination Newry for the full coverage of the game which is available to watch at http://destinationnewry.com/find-previous-programme/newry-city-afc/1516/
Also thanks to Mickey Cummins for the video clips of Sean McMullans goal celebration and an interview with Newry Manager Darren Mullen. Links below:
Newry City team: Murphy, Crilly, R.Hand, McCaul, S.Hand, Patton, Walker, McMahon, Lowry, McMullan, Fay. Subs: Barr, Durnin, McConnell, O’Connor, Curran.