There were few grumbles amongst the Newry support as Bangor left The Showgrounds with a deserved 3-1 win after Saturdays match. That sentiment however related only to the destination of the points and not to the display of the home side who for the majority of the game got nowhere near the high standard that the Newry faithful have come to expect. Credit for that however must go to Bangor who looked the hungrier side throughout and to their striker Dwaine Beattie who grabbed an excellent hat trick.
The game opened with an early chance for the visitors, Dale Patton finding room inside the Newry box foiled by Peter Murphy who was quickly off his line to snuff out the threat. In reply Newry created a succession of chances. First Sean McMullan flicked a throw in into the path of Mark McCabe who stepped inside his marker before shooting for the far post, his effort touched around the post by the diving Darren Gibbons. Gibbons soon produced a repeat performance, Mark Hughes crossing for McMullan who headed back across goal, Gibbons once more pushing the ball around the post. At this stage the home side looked the more likely to score and almost took the lead on 23 minutes, Hughes again crossing from the right, this time Mark Patton unable to get his header on target.
The opening goal did come minutes later, Greg McCabe swinging a pin point ball into the box, McMullan once more getting his headed effort on target. This time Gibbons could only block the striker’s effort, Marty Havern the first to react to the loose ball to finish from close range. That was as good as it got for Newry as the lead did not last long, Bangor immediately replying with a move which swept the ball from defence to attack in an instant making the most of some poor Newry defending culminating with Beattie arriving at the back post to level the scores.
Newry got an early warning of the Bangor intent straight after the break, Jordan Lucas causing havoc on the right wing before drilling in a low shot which was cleared off the line by some last ditch defending from Neil Mullen. The warning was not heeded as Lucas created the opening for Bangor’s second goal with almost an hour played, once more making the most of some poor defensive play before drilling a dangerous ball across the face of the Newry goal, Beattie nipping in front of the Newry players to poke the ball home. It could have got worse for Newry were it not for Mullen once more sweeping up on the goal line to prevent goal number three.
It wasn’t all one way traffic and the home side had chances of their own not to mention at least one very valid claim for hand ball inside the box which were not spotted by the officials. However, try as they might the elusive equalizer refused to come from the opportunities Newry created. On 65 minutes Mark Patton who worked hard all day won a battle for the ball near the end line before crossing for Declan Carville who could only find Gibbons with his headed effort. On 80 minutes it was the turn of Patton to try his luck with a header from a Hughes corner, the big man unable to find the target from close range. And the Newry crowd knew it was not to be when another Hughes cross was punched out by Gibbons as far as Thomas McCann, his low shot destined for the bottom corner tipped onto the post by Gibbons for a fine save.
With time running out Newry’s Greg McCabe gave the referee little choice but to issue a straight red card for a crude challenge on Bangor’s Gerard McMullan. And with almost the last kick of the game Bangor sealed the points and Beattie his hat trick from the penalty spot, after Peter Murphy clipped the same player as he tried to go around the Newry keeper, to leave the final score 3-1 to Bangor.
A result which obviously gave Newry manager Darren Mullen cause for concern “It was a very disappointing game not just because of the result but we didn’t do ourselves justice with a poor performance. After we took the lead we needed to keep our shape to consolidate that lead but made basic errors to let them back into it straight away. We had chances to add to that goal but overall we didn’t do enough to win the game and can’t complain with the result. Bangor are a decent side who are organised and are quick on the break but we are a lot better than we showed today.
“We had five players missing today but it’s up to the other players in the squad to step up and unfortunately too many didn’t perform. As a group we will take responsibility for the performance and work hard in training to make sure we learn from it. We didn’t get too carried away with the good start we’ve made to the season and we certainly won’t dwell on this result but we need to pick ourselves up very quickly. This is a very tough league but one that we are well fit for and next week’s game against Lisburn Distillery can’t come quick enough.’
Newry’s next game is on Saturday 10th December at home to Lisburn Distillery, KO 3pm.
Newry City AFC Team: Murphy, G McCabe, King, Mooney, Mullen, Patton, Hughes, Carville, McMullan, Havern, M McCabe. Subs: Johnston, Edgar, McMahon, McCaul & McCann.
Bangor FC Team: Gibbons, G Beattie, Calvert, Long, Mugrew, Justin, Lucas, Armstrong, Patton, D Beattie, McMullan. Subs: Knipe, Craig, McArthur, Fitzimmons, McGrath.