A comprehensive win for Newry City to cement their place in the top half of the table pre-the April split came courtesy of a half dozen goals the pick of which was goal number five, a wonder strike from Decky Carville which flew into the top corner of the Tobermore net. However, while goals win games, in this league Newry have quickly learnt that they must first win the right to score and on Saturday Newry’s fortune was set by solid displays from a quartet of players, John Boyle, Ian Curran, Kevin McArdle and Mark Patton, all of whom turned in flawless displays to set the foundation for what in the end turned out a routine win.
That was not however how the game started, Tobermore first out of the blocks, Nicky Hudson rising highest to head a corner over the Newry crossbar followed by an important intervention from Boyle stretching to head a cross ball for a corner with two Tobermore forwards ready to pounce. Newry soon created chances for themselves, Thomas McCann sweeping play wide to Decky Carville, his cross testing the aerial ability of Timmy Grant who did well to skim the crossbar. Newry were gradually getting on top and with 12 minutes gone they tested Matthew McGraw for the first time, Patton nodding the ball down to Keith Johnston who tried his luck from the edge of the box, the Tobermore keeper parrying the ball to safety.
Newry grabbed the opening goal after 17 minutes. After winning possession short of midfield McCann fed the ball wide to Johnston, the winger delaying the return ball long enough for McCann to make his way into the box to bravely challenge for the cross, McGraw able only to block McCann’s header onto Conor Kearns who inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net to put Newry a goal ahead. McCann didn’t have to wait long for a goal of his own to cap his Man of the Match display. With 20 minutes on the clock Carville won possession on the left wing before quickly finding the feet of Timmy Grant, his first-time ball into the penalty area won in a tackle by McCann who quickly regained his feet before calmly placing the ball past McGraw to double the Newry advantage.
The game was all but over as a contest on the half hour mark with a goal made by Newry keeper Kieran Gordon and scored by Keith Johnston. With Tobermore on the attack Gordon found himself isolated against Tobermore striker Nicky Hudson, Gordon using his frame to guard the net before pinching the ball clean from Hudson’s feet. In a flash Gordon turned defence into attack with a long kick out which Johnston judged better than Tobermore’s central defender Kearns, the Newry man timing his run perfectly to latch on to the bouncing ball and place a half volley into the bottom corner of the Tobermore net to put Newry 3-0 up, a score line which remained until the half time whistle.
It took Newry five minutes into the second half to add to the score line and when it came it was a classic centre half’s goal, Mark Hughes delivering a corner to the penalty spot, Ian Curran capping another solid display with a powerful downward header which gave McGraw little chance. It was now a case of how many goals Newry could rack up and they had a great chance for number five on the hour mark, Patton switching play from right to left with a beautiful curling ball straight to the feet of Carville on the edge of the box, the centre forward then leaving his marker for dead as he took the ball to the end line before trying to find the run of Sean McMullan, McMullan denied by a last ditch tackle to deflect the ball for a corner.
The 68th minute saw a contender for goal of the season. Starting with McArdle at the half way line he rolled the ball forward to Marty Havern who in turn set the ball back perfectly for McArdle to sweep a curling ball picking out Carville on the edge of the penalty area. Carville’s first touch was to control the ball on his chest, the second a volley on the turn which flew into the top corner of the Tobermore net despite the despairing dive from McGraw for a picture goal.
The 80th minute brought a late sting for Newry, Tobermore’s right back Shannon Crooks venturing forward found himself with a shooting opportunity inside the Newry box, his effort partially blocked by Gordon but not enough to stop the balls path towards goal, Stephen McCabe covering behind Gordon instinctively scooping the ball from the goal line with his hand which gave referee Mark Dillon little option but to brandish a straight red card at the Newry left back. With a spot kick duly awarded it was left to Tobermore’s Glen Law to grab a consolation goal which he did despite the best effort of Gordon. A little rejuvenated by this Tobermore immediately had a great chance for a second, a long ball over the top finally beating the Newry defence, Gordon producing a fine stop to deny Peter Duffin.
Having awarded a penalty at the away end referee Dillon was given a chance to balance the books on 85 minutes when Carville set up McMullan with a shooting chance. When the big man’s effort was only parried out by the Tobermore keeper, Newry’s birthday boy Thomas McCann was the first to react to the loose ball only to be barged off it by Kearns, Dillon without hesitation correctly pointing straight to the spot. With McMullan on the field that means only one thing and the Newry striker once more delivered sending McGraw the wrong way to round off a 6-1 win for Newry which satisfied Newry manager Darren Mullen who as usual wasn’t looking any further forward than the next game “This turned out to be a comfortable win for us but only because we maintained the same effort from the Dundela game. We know the ability is there within the squad, it’s just how we apply ourselves that will determine how well we perform. Thankfully we started the game well and put them on the back foot. We have pace throughout the team and when Kevin and Giggsy are running at teams right from our back line it creates plenty of chances.
When we have players running from deep the way Tucker did then it makes life difficult for them to defend and he took his chances well. The fact we are disappointed with conceding also shows how much the players value keeping a clean sheet. That said it’s another good win for us and with 9 games to go we are starting to look strong. However, we never get ahead of ourselves and know for sure that next week’s game against Sport and Leisure will again be a tough battle.
Newry’s next game is next Saturday 18th March away to Sport and Leisure Swifts, KO 3pm. Newry City travel club bus will leave The Stonebridge at 1:15pm.
Match Day Mascots Sean Lennon & Jake Smyth
Highlights courtesy of Ally McKenzie & Tommy Harris NCAFC TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oW1fDJf95s
NML Football Photographs https://www.facebook.com/pg/NMLSport/photos/?tab=album&album_id=770066819817029
Newry City AFC: Gordon, McCabe, McArdle, Boyle, Curran, Patton, McCann, Grant, Carville, Johnston, Hughes. Subs: McMullan, Havern, McMahon, McCaul, Taylor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jACIA4TPTfU
Tobermore Utd: McGraw, Crooks, Harkness, Keane, Kearns, Marks, Gillan, Law, Hudson, Flanagan, Duffin. Subs: Stewart, Darragh, Hunter, Winton.