Five goals from five different scorers was more than enough to secure Newry City another three points to add to their league total away to Lower Maze on Saturday. That margin in no way flatters the Newry boys who created a host of chances which sets them up nicely for a local derby against Camlough Rovers at The Showground’s on Tuesday night which was immediately in Newry manager Darren Mullen’s thoughts ‘This was a very solid performance from start to finish and I can’t remember them troubling Peter Murphy in any great way. We made a few changes with Stephen McCabe and Paddy Mooney coming in and it certainly didn’t weaken us. There’s very little coaching involved with the lads at this stage of the season as they all know their roles within the team. That said complacency will never be allowed to set it and we are in the position we are in due to a lot of hard work. As a result of that hard work we have been wearing teams down and have goal threats throughout the squad. Each of our remaining games throws up a different type of challenge with our home game against Camlough this Tuesday night certain to be a difficult one. However we are relishing the games coming thick and fast and look forward to that test.’
Newry’s first goal chance came after only two minutes when a long ball was misjudged by the Lower Maze centre back Derek Wiggam, Paddy Mooney first to the loose ball which he nodded to Sean McMullan, McMullan spotting that Thomas Neill had strayed from his goal line and instinctively lobbing the ball over the keeper unfortunate to see it bounce the wrong side of the post.
The travelling support didn’t have long to wait for the opening goal which came after only eight minutes. Starting from a Graeme Edgar throw in deep in the Maze half the ball was helped on by Decky Carville as far as the edge of the small box to McMullan who juggled on his knee before setting up Stephen McCabe for a close range volley which he smashed into the roof of the Lower Maze net to give Newry an early lead.
Play was all one way as Newry set about looking for a second, neat passing between Chris McMahon and Jimmy Walker released Mooney on the right wing, Mooney continuing his run along the end line before putting a dangerous ball in front of the Lower Maze goal, the ball hacked away by a home defender. Minutes later Ian Curran won the aerial battle from a corner, his header falling for McMullan who spun to shoot unfortunate to find Neill in the centre of his goal. Newry grabbed a second on 25 minutes with a goal created by Jimmy Walker. Picking the ball up on the half way line Walker skipped past challenges until got to the by line from where he drilled a low ball across the goal, the ball deflected out but only as far as McMullan who blasted home through a wall of Lower Maze defenders. Newry had further opportunities to stretch the lead before half time. First Curran rose highest to head a Walker corner over the bar and Walker made the final chance of the half curling a free kick into the Lower Maze box which bounced over McMullan into the path of Neil Mullen who got the necessary power but not the direction into his header leaving the half time score 2-0 in Newry’s favour.
Newry started the second half with their usual brand of patient passing football bursting into life on 55 minutes when Stephen McCabe nicked the ball of the Lower Maze right back Peter Smyth and ran straight for goal rounding the advancing Neill with ease, the ball running a yard ahead of him which allowed his team mate Mooney to nip in ahead of him to drill the ball into the net to open Newry’s account for the second half. Three goals quickly became four with Newry attacking at will, Chris McMahon with a perfect pass into the path of McCabe, his shot blocked by Neill rebounding outside the box from where Walkers effort was charged down by the hands of a defender. And it was Newry’s free kick expert Walker who extracted maximum retribution curling the dead ball around the wall into the top corner of the net with Neill rooted to the spot.
Things then got worse for Lower Maze when centre back Wiggam, who had been booked in the first half for successive crude challenges on McMullan, was shown a red card for a high tackle on Walker. McCabe, who was Newrys stand out player on the day, was torturing his marker and the winger created Newrys next chance, turning Smyth inside out before whipping a cross to the near post which Mark Patton met with a side foot volley which went inches wide. On 80 minutes Patton went close again, Thomas McCann setting Edgar up to cross to the back post, Patton unable to get over his header which beat the cross bar. The visitors left the best goal to the end, a fine passing movement started by Carville mid way inside the Lower Maze half releasing McCabe on the left. Feigning to go outside his marker McCabe cut back inside and dwelt on the ball before picking out the run of Walker into the box. In turn Walker held the ball allowing McCann to run past him, McCann taking a touch before picking his spot across Neill and into the far bottom corner to seal a 5-0 win for Newry.
Newry City: Murphy, McMahon, Edgar, Curran, Mullen, McArdle, Carville, Walker, McMullan, Mooney, McCabe. Subs: Patton, McCann, Johnston, Grant, Lowry.
Newry City’s next game is on Tuesday 22nd March at 7:45pm at home to Camlough. The following Saturday 26th March Newry travel to play St Mary’s for a Marshall Cup tie, kick off 2:00pm. Newry City travel club bus will leave The Stonebridge at 1pm.