by Colm Murphy, Newry City U14 Manager
Newry suffered their second league defeat on Saturday last against a vibrant Valley Rangers side who were intent on avenging their 6-1 defeat to Newry earlier in the season. Newry were lucky to field a team on Saturday due to illness, holidays and non-show of players and had to field for most of the first half with 10 players which was to prove costly as Valley attacked from the start and went into a two goal lead within the first 10 minutes.
With the back line missing keys players, Valley took the opportunity to play long balls through on the defence which reaped rewards as Newry were caught out many times by the quick flowing football from Valley and particularly their centre forward who was having a great game.
Despite going down by two early goals, the 10 men kept going and were unlucky not to draw level on a number of occasions. Again that final touch was the difference between the teams.
The second half started more brightly for Newry and thanks to one of the U13 squad the team were able to field 11 players for the second half. They tried hard to get back into the game and had most of the play but were caught again by a quick break from Valley and fell behind by another goal. However this young team showed great spirit and got themselves back into the match after some great link up play from Joseph Connolly and Nathan Crudden and were awarded a penalty. Tiarnan Murphy made sure from the penalty kick to take advantage of the opportunity and coolly slotted the ball to the back of the net to make it 3-1. This drove Newry on and they were unlucky on a number of occasions not to score a few more goals. Following some fine link up play between Tiernan O’Reilly and Joseph Connolly, Tiarnan Murphy was very unlucky with a run and shot that hit the post and Nathan Crudden also was very unlucky not to see his shot hit the back of the net after a great through ball by Caolan Reavey.
The game was decided by a questionable refereeing decision when Valley broke out of defence and played a through ball to their centre forward who looked to be offside. Despite the linesman flagging, the referee allowed play to continue and Valley scored their fourth goal which killed the game off.
Credit most go to a good performance by Valley Rangers who on the day took full advantage of a depleted Newry team. A special mention most go to the Newry team also, who despite a weakened squad give their all and played their part in a very entertaining game.