Newry City cruised into the 2nd round of the Intermediate Cup with a comprehensive victory over Amateur League side Shorts at the Showgrounds on Friday night. As usual in cup competitions Newry manager Darren Mullen shuffled his pack for this game playing with three speedsters in attack which proved too much for the Shorts rear guard to contain, the home side pulling away in the second half to win by seven goals to nil.
A sign of things to come Newry almost took the lead inside the first minute when Keith Johnston swung a dangerous ball across the goal which the Short’s defence had to deal with but could only deflect towards their own net forcing Causby to scoop the ball around his post for a Newry corner.
The home support didn’t have long to wait however as with only ten minutes gone Newry took the lead, Thomas McCann losing his marker to receive a throw in and from outside the box hit a first time shot from a bouncing ball which Causby could not hold, Stephen McCabe the first to react from the opposite side of the box to drill a low shot into the corner of the net to put Newry a goal up.
Shorts had a chance of their own after 18 minutes when Barr and Allen combined on the left wing culminating in a shot from Ennis from the edge of the Newry penalty box which brought a smart save from Murphy low at his near post.
Newry almost doubled their advantage after 25 minutes, Graeme Edgar switching the play from left to right with a lobbed diagonal pass which Timmy Grant crossed to the back post, Decky Carville rising highest to slam his header off the Shorts cross bar.
Newry have a number of players adept at hitting free kicks from outside the box and with McMullan and Walker rested for this game McCabe showed his prowess from a dead ball when he stepped up to a free kick with five minutes of the first half remaining. Just outside the box and a little to the right gave McCabe the perfect angle for a one step run up and a delightful left foot shot which curled into the top corner of the Shorts net despite the despairing dive of Causby to put Newry 2-0 up.
On the stroke of half time the tie was virtually over as a contest when McCabe’s corner was not dealt with by Shorts, Carville reacting the quickest to stab the loose into the net to leave Newry three goals up at the interval.
The second half was as about as one sided as a game can be with Newry creating chances at will. That said it was not until the hour mark that they converted one of these. A play which started with Johnston on the Newry left, another diagonal ball finding the advanced Crilly on the right. Crilly kept the ball moving with a short pass to Chris McMahon who took a few more steps in field before curling a dipping shot from 35 yards which hit the underside of the cross bar bouncing out to the penalty spot where Timmy Grant managed to get enough power to his header to guide it out of Causby’s reach and into the corner of the Shorts goal.
The home side had lost centre half Conor McCaul early in the first half through injury which led to the introduction Andy Martin, a young defender in whom the Newry management have high hopes. With 75 minutes on the clock Martin grabbed his first senior goal for Newry when he slid in at the back post to meet an in swinging McCabe cross from the corner of the penalty box, Martin’s finish from close range giving Causby little chance.
There was nothing the visiting keeper could do about goal number six either. Picking the ball up in central midfield Thomas McCann stepped inside consecutive tackles before drilling a perfect shot from some 25 yards which never deviated from its flight path into the back of the Shorts net for a picture goal.
The final goal of the game owed everything to the fleet of foot of Man of the Match Stephen McCabe who had given his multiple markers the run around every time he touched the ball. With time almost up and his side winning comfortably McCabe was still full of running and when the Shorts defence attempted to shepherd the ball over the end line McCabe was thinking otherwise nipping in between defenders to collect the ball before drilling a low ball across the face of the goal which took a deflection from a Shorts player and into the net to end the scoring with Newry leading 7-0.
Although content with his team’s performance Newry manager Darren Mullen was as ever only looking as far as the next few matches “The cup competitions give me an opportunity to change things around and give other players some game time. We rested Jimmy and Mully who have scored 20 goals between them so far, so to score seven goals shows the strength of the squad this season. Another pleasing aspect was the performance of young Andy Martin who capped a fine display with his first senior goal. It took us a while to build on our early goal and gave away too much possession for a lot of the first half. We played a lot better in the second half and moved the ball really well. Our fitness levels are telling in games and it was good to keep another clean sheet. We have three tough away games in a row but we are playing well at the minute and look forward to the tests ahead.”
Newry City’s next game is away to Hanover in the Mid Ulster Premier Cup next Saturday 31st October, NC travel club bus will leave the Stonebridge at 1:15pm.
Newry City: Murphy, Crilly, Edgar, McCaul, Mullen, McMahon, McCann, Carville, Johnston, Grant, McCabe, Subs: Martin, Walker, Durnin, McMullan, Cargin, Lowry.