With the first team not in action on Saturday and with several players stripping out for the Under 19’s Newry City Reserve team manager Gary Redpath fielded a team mixed with youth and senior players for the away tie against Crewe. And in an entertaining game both groups stepped up to the mark with young Paul Hadden giving an assured performance in nets while outfield Ben Hughes and Jervis Og McCaul played their part in an emphatic victory and for the senior player players while both Neil Barr and Keith Johnston each grabbed a pair of goals the foundation for the win lay with the work rate of Newry’s Man of the Match Graeme Edgar and the ball skills and vision of Sean McMullan who tortured the home defence throughout.
It only took Newry three minutes to register their first goal, Josh Durnin slipping a through ball to Barr who smashed his first time shot across the Crewe keeper and into the opposite top corner for a stunning opener. On 12 minutes Newry doubled their advantage when McMullan and Paulis Smaryginas combined to find Hughes in space on the right wing, the youngster quick to spot Johnston’s run behind the defence on the opposite wing, his pass giving Johnston the time and space to pick out a spot in the far top corner of O’Neill’s net into which he curled the perfect shot to put the visitors 2-0 up. It was all Newry at this stage with McMullan pulling all the strings and on 25 minutes the big man laid the perfect pass through the Crewe defence for the speedster Johnston to run onto, the winger feigning to go forward, losing his marker by cutting back across goal and drilling a low shot into the near bottom corner to put Newry firmly in command.
On 35 minutes the home side almost pulled a goal back when Walsh raced down the Newry right wing, cut inside his marker and curled a dipping shot which skimmed off the top of the Newry crossbar.
This resurgence was only temporary with the goal of the game coming from the evergreen McMullan on 40 minutes. Surrounded by four Crewe players on the edge of the home penalty area it looked as if the big man was trapped. That was not allowing for his fleet of foot as he twisted and turned bamboozling the Crewe defence before playing a one two with Smaryginas and planting the ball into the same top corner as Barr had earlier hit with a first time shot for a goal which would have graced any game.
To their credit the home side kept playing football and pulled a goal back before half time when Hutchinson made ground down the right wing before pulling the ball back into the box from where McCullough drilled in a low shot which gave Hadden little chance leaving the half time score 4-1 in Newry’s favour.
After that first half there was no way that the second was going to be as entertaining and although Newry did register goal number five after an excellent run forward from Niall Crilly who skipped past two tackles before taking the ball to the by line and pulling a cross back to the six yard box from where Barr curled a low shot into the bottom corner for his second and Newrys fifth it was the Newry defence and in particular Hadden who came to the fore, the young keeper on several occasions displaying safe hands and capping it off on 70 minutes with a brave diving save at the feet of the inrushing Hutchinson to once more snuff out any Crewe threat and seal a 5-1 win for Newry.