A game which from an early stage looked likely to be won by a solitary goal turned out that way but it will be how Newry City conceded the goal which ultimately cost them the points in Limavady on Friday night which will most annoy Newry manager Darren Mullen as he muses over his teams 5th consecutive loss. With just over an hour gone and Newry in possession midway inside the Limavady half a calamitous decision to pass the ball the whole way back to Peter Murphy in the Newry goal went disastrously wrong when the back pass fell hopelessly short finding only the loitering Limavady striker Robbie Hume in acres of space which he made the most off, first to draw Murphy from his goal line before drilling the ball into the net despite a valiant attempt by Kevin McArdle on the goal line to save the day for Newry.
Before that the game was largely level, Newry holding the upper hand in the opening quarter without creating many clear-cut chances, an effort from Jimmy Walker from the edge of the box which flew over the Limavady cross bar the closest they came to turning that dominance into a goal. It took the home side almost 30 minutes to test Murphy, Colin Murray crossing for Robbie Hume, his snap shot parried away by the Newry keeper. In a competitive first half in which debutant Marcus McKeown showed up well for Newry the final chance fell the way of Limavady and Hume, the striker running onto a long ball which took him behind the Newry defence only to find Murphy quickly off his line to snuff out the danger.
Newry started the second half the brighter side creating two quick fire chances before Limavady got out of the blocks. The first was started and almost finished by McArdle, winning possession deep in his own half before breaking forward swapping passes with Mark Hughes before shooting low across goal, the Roesider’s keeper Paul Wells deflecting the ball around the post for a corner. Minutes later and Newry had an even better chance created by some inventive thinking between Walker and Marty Havern, Walker lining up to swing a free kick to the back post instead slipping a straight pass into the path of Havern who swivelled to shoot alas straight at Wells.
While Limavady grabbed the opening goal shortly after the hour mark courtesy of that gift from Newry the visitors responded well and almost equalized straight away, McArdle once more pressing forward, feeding the ball wide to Hughes before making his way inside the Limavady box to get on the end of a Hughes cross unfortunate to steer his effort wide with Wells beaten. Pushing for the equalizer Newry committed men forward and carved out a great chance for substitute Timmy Grant, Walker once more providing the ammunition finding Grant in space to run on goal before trying his luck from the edge of the box forcing a fine reflex save from Wells to deny the Newry man. Pushing men forward will always leave a team exposed at the back and Newry almost paid the price with time running out when Hume got the better of the last Newry defenders but could not beat Murphy who produced a fine save to leave the final score 1-0 to Limavady.
Accepting that his team are on a bad run of results Newry manager Darren Mullen was able to take some positives from the game “Although it’s another defeat there are plenty of positives to take from this game. We had eight players missing and only four fit players on the bench so to play the way we did away to last season’s league champions gives me plenty of encouragement. I thought Marcus McKeown had a terrific debut considering his lack of fitness and Ryan Quinn also showed he is fit for this level on his debut. We started the game really well and had a couple of half chances that we should have done better with. Our shape and work rate were good but we just need a bit more quality and composure in the final third. Unfortunately, 20 seconds of madness have cost us dearly. However, I couldn’t have asked much more of the lads with their reaction to the goal and it showed the fighting spirit that had been lacking in some of our previous defeats. I have no doubt with some luck, players returning and possibly one or two new signings we will turn things around. I would also like to thank the fans for their magnificent support on what was a long journey and hopefully we can get back to winning ways to give them something to cheer about.”
Newry City now travel to play Bangor on Saturday 7th January, kick off 3pm. Newry City travel club bus will leave The Stonebridge at 1pm, all welcome.
Newry City: Peter Murphy, Kevin McArdle, Jordan King, Ian Curran, Neil Mullen, Thomas McCann, Marcus McKeown, Martin Havern, Keith Johnston James Walker, Mark Hughes. Subs: Ryan Quinn, Mark McCabe, Timmy Grant, Sean McMullan.