Newry City Reserves welcomed Dungannon Swifts second string to the Showgrounds on Wednesday night. Having picked up a valuable away point on the road the previous week at Ballymena, Newry hoped to secure further points ahead of a really tough run of fixtures over the festive period.
The game got off to an unbelievable start with three goals in the first four minutes to put Newry 2- 1 ahead. A brace from Keith Johnston either side of a Marcio Soares strike for the visitors saw Newry race into an early lead. However they were quickly pegged back when Daniel Hughes equalised from a free-kick on the edge of the area in the tenth minute. It went downhill spectacularly after that with a further two goals from Hughes and a tap in from Caolian Coyle saw the visitors go into the break with a 5 – 2 advantage.
Half time: Newry City Reserves 2 – 5 Dungannon Swifts Reserves
Newry started the second half brightly in an attempt to salvage some pride after the late collapse in the first. TJ Hughes made it 5-3 when he rifled home from the edge of the area after a clever knock back from Keith Johnston in the 50th minute. Two minutes later it was 5-4 when Johnston saw his effort go in off the post to complete his hat-trick.
On the hour mark though, the visitors extended their lead when Daniel Hughes’ shot was well stopped by Lewis Hunter but the rebound hit the unfortunate Zach Annett who turned it into his own net. Straight from the kick off it was Newry who hit the net again when Josh Durnin raced through and tapped home after an excellent through ball from Matty Taylor. The game continued end to end for the next half hour and as Newry committed more bodies forward in an attempt to get an equaliser, they were picked off twice at the end to seal the win for the visitors
Full time: Newry City Reserves 5 – 8 Dungannon Swifts Reserves
Speaking to newrycityafc.co.uk after the match, Newry Reserves boss Ronan Casey was less than enamoured with his side’s display.
“Anybody looking at the result may think this game was a thriller but it was far from it. It was the worst team performance these lads have served up in my time here. There was a complete lack of fight, belief, energy and an unwillingness to do the dirty work that this fixture required,” blasted Casey. “Fair play to Dungannon who rolled their sleeves up on a cold and wet winter’s night and our boys should pay heed to that. If we aren’t prepared to work hard first and foremost, we will be in serious trouble for the rest of the season. We have a few new faces coming in January when the window opens and that can’t come quick enough on tonight’s showing.”
Next up for Casey’s men is successive away trips to Linfield and Glentoran in the next 10 days.
Newry City Reserves: Lewis Hunter, Leigh Crooks, Zach Annett, Jordan Mackey, Dean Morgan, Conal Delaney, Josh Durnin, Keith Johnston, Sokemeibi John, TJ Hughes, Ryan Duffy
Subs: Keelan Morgan, Matthew Taylor, Tiarnan Murphy, Niall McGivern, Adam Taylor
Crusaders Reserves 3 – 0 Newry City Reserves (07/11/18)
Newry City Reserves travelled to North Belfast in the hope of continuing their recent good league form, but were brought back down to earth with a resounding thud at Seaview.
Buoyed by the inclusion of Philip Lowry, Gary Thompson and Ross Holden in midfield, the home side started the brighter of the two sides, with Newry keeper Lewis Hunter coming to the rescue twice early on with saves from close range to keep the home side at bay.
Newry struggled for much of the opening 20 minutes to get out of their own half and had Zach Annett and Jordan Mackey to thank for some great last ditch defending. The first goal seemed inevitable and it duly arrived in the 25th minute when a wonderful strike from a full 35 yards by Lowry sailed into the top corner past the despairing hand of Hunter.
By the 30th minute it was two, when Hunter’s pass out to full back Thomas McGreevey was intercepted by centre forward Lumi Kanwei who slotted past the Newry keeper, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Stung by this further setback, Newry tried hard to get back into the game and twice went close to reducing the deficit late in the first half. Firstly, in the 42nd minute, Keith Johnson’s lob over the advancing keeper landed on the roof of the net. Then on the stroke of half time Mattie Taylor saw his superb 25 yard free kick canon off the underside of the bar, before being scrambled to safety.
The second half was much better from a Newry perspective with Johnson and Ryan Duffy both seeing efforts cleared off the line as the away side chased the game. But in doing so, you always leave yourself that bit more open and in the final moments of the game Kanwei got his second of the night, getting in between Mackey and Hunter to pounce and put the game beyond Newry’s reach.
Newry City Reserves: Lewis Hunter, Leigh Crooks, Zach Annett, Jordan Mackey, Thomas McGreevy, Matthew Taylor ©, Josh Durnin, Lee Hutchinson, Keith Johnston, Mark McCullough, Ryan Duffy
Subs: Kealan Morgan, Tiernan O’Reilly, James Irwin, Jervis McCaul
Newry City Reserves 2 – 2 Cliftonville Olympic (16/11/18)
Newry City Reserves hoped to put their previous week’s disappointment behind them against a resurgent Cliftonville Olympic at the Showgrounds on Wednesday night.
Bolstered by the addition of some of the first team squad, Newry got off to the worst possible start when right from kick off, centre forward Thomas Maguire stole possession and shot past Lewis Hunter, make it 1-0 to the visitors.
The visitors were presented with a golden opportunity to double their advantage in the fifth minute when they were awarded a penalty, after Neil Mullen was adjudged to have tripped Maguire as he advanced into the box. From the resulting spot kick, Maguire duly obliged to make it 2-0.
Newry gradually began to impose themselves on the game, but their failure to convert numerous goal scoring opportunities, coupled with an inspired goalkeeping display in the Cliftonville goal by Ethan McGrath, saw the North Belfast side maintain their two goal cushion.
Cliftonville were dealt a setback in the 37th minute when midfielder Peter McKiernan was shown a straight red card for a kick on Zach Annett. With the Reds now reduced to 10 men, Newry continued to ask questions of the Cliftonville defence, and after a sustained spell of pressure, the hosts finally made the breakthrough on the stroke of half-time. Skipper TJ Hughes bundling home from close range, after a fine cross from the left by Noel Healy.
The introduction at half time of Newry substitute Sokei John for the injured Neil Mullen almost paid instant dividends, when his first time shot grazed the outside of the post in the 47th minute. This was to be a constant theme for the rest of the half, with Cliftonville doing their best to hang on to their one goal lead, whilst Newry threw all of their energies into attack.
Chances for Crooks, Durnin, Hutchinson, McArdle and Sokei John were missed and the night seemed to have an air of inevitability about it. That changed though in the 75th minute, when, after a neat interchange of play between Jimmy Walker and Kevin McArdle, the latter’s cross across the 6 yard box was slid home by Sokei John.
The pulsating second half didn’t end there as Newry went in pursuit of the winner, but credit must go to McGrath in the Reds goal, as he kept out two ferocious drives from TJ Hughes and tipped a cracking left footed effort from Kevin McArdle onto the crossbar.
Right at the final whistle Newry had the ball in the net again, but the goal was ruled out for an infringement in the build-up and the game ended all square.
Newry City Reserves: Lewis Hunter, Kevin McArdle, Noel Healy, Jordan Mackey, Neil Mullen, Mark McCullough, Josh Durnin, James Walker, TJ Hughes ©, Leigh Crooks, Zach Annett
Subs: Lee Hutchinson, Sokei John, Ryan Duffy, Jervis McCaul, Kealan Morgan
Commenting on the two games, Newry Reserves boss Ronan Casey admitted that while he was disappointed with the level of performance away to Crusaders, he was delighted with the response from the players against Cliftonville, after falling two goals behind early on.
“That was two tough games in the last seven days for us,” said Casey.
“I felt at Seaview, we didn’t give a good account of ourselves in the first half and gave ourselves too much to do to get back into it. Although from a development point of view, it was good experience for our boys to be competing with the likes of Philip Lowry and Gary Thompson, who are part of a full time professional set up and hopefully they can learn from it.
“Our most recent home game against Cliftonville had a bit of everything. There was some chaotic defending from both sides; a sending off, a multitude of missed chances, some great goalkeeping and plenty of entertainment for the neutral. A really poor start didn’t help our cause but the lads showed a great fighting spirit to patiently claw their way back into the game when it didn’t look like it was going to be our night. After being two nil down inside five minutes, we will content ourselves with a point, even though it should maybe have been all three. Full credit to Cliftonville though, who fought gallantly to the end to take something from it and my counterpart Declan O’Hara was rightly pleased with how they acquitted themselves.
“We are on our travels again next week to take on Ards and Ballymena respectively, and hopefully we can put some more points on the board.”
Newry City Reserves 3 – 0 Ballymena United Reserves (06/10/18)
Newry City Reserves welcomed league high fliers Ballymena United to the Showgrounds hoping to bounce back from the previous week’s disappointment away to Coleraine.
The away side started very brightly with Lewis Hunter being called into action in the first minute to keep out a stunning long range effort from ex-Glentoran ace Steven McAlorum.
As the game progressed, Newry got themselves a foothold in the game and were rewarded when a clever reverse pass from TJ Hughes was picked up on the edge of the box by Josh Durnin who cooly curled a left footed effort into the bottom corner in the 35 minute to give the home side a 1-0 lead going into the interval.
As expected, Ballymena threw everything at Newry in the second half and showed just exactly why they are sitting so high in the table. In doing that though, they left gaps which were cleverly exposed by the young Newry team. A wonderful run in the 78th minute from his own penalty area down the right hand side by skipper Matty Taylor was justly rewarded when his cross was met by Sokei John at the back post to make it 2 -0.
Before Ballymena had time to regroup it was 3-0 when in the 80th minute, when Sokei John grabbed his second of the game rounding the keeper and tapping into an empty net after a through ball from Lee Hutchinson.
Newry remained firm to maintain a clean sheet and put another three points on the board.
Newry City: Lewis Hunter, Leigh Crooks, Zach Annett, Mark McCullough, Thomas McGreevy, Matthew Taylor ©, Josh Durnin, Lee Hutchinson, Sokei John, TJ Hughes, Ryan Duffy
Subs: Kealan Morgan, Dean Morgan, Jordan Mackey, Jervis McCaul, Jordan Copeland
Newry City U20s 1 – 1 Linfield Swifts (17/10/18)
Newry City Reserves welcomed table toppers Linfield Swifts to the Showgrounds on Wednesday night in the hope of ending the Swifts unbeaten league record to date.
In front of a big crowd and under the watchful eye of first team boss David Healy, Linfield started the game at a frantic pace and it took a last ditch tackle from centre half Mark McCullough in the second minute from stopping local lad Adam Carroll from opening the scoring for the away side.
Chances were aplenty at both ends thereafter with Josh Durnin, TJ Hughes and Conal Delaney going close for Newry whilst Daniel Reynolds and Mark Stafford saw efforts well stopped by Hunter. Although the pace was relentless both teams went in at the break level at 0-0.
The half time break didn’t seem to count for either side as the second half began in a similar fashion to the way in which the first ended, with both sides have a real go at it. It was Linfield though who drew first blood in the 62nd minute when Caomhan McGuiness’ cross into the box from the right evaded everyone in the Newry defence and Brandon Doyle headed home at the back post to make it 1 – 0 to the visitors much to the delight of the travelling away support.
Full credit to the young Newry side as they didn’t allow this setback to affect them and after a brilliant piece of link up play in midfield between Matty Taylor and Conal Delaney, the latter’s deep cross was met by the onrushing Taylor on the six yard box to powerfully head home the equaliser in the 65th minute.
Less than two minutes later it could have and probably should have another for the home side when Delaney’s ball from the right was powerfully volleyed against the upright from TJ Hughes from 12 yards with Dylan Stewart in the Linfield goal rooted to the spot.
As the game drew to a finish, Newry had one last chance to snatch it in injury time when skipper Taylor’s powerful surge into the box and stinging drive drew a magnificent save from Stewart to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.
Newry City: Lewis Hunter, Thomas McGreevy, Noel Healy, Jordan Mackey, Mark McCullough, Matthew Taylor ©, Josh Durnin, Dale Montgomery, TJ Hughes, Conal Delaney, Zach Annett
Subs: Lee Hutchinson, Sokei John, Ryan Duffy, Jervis McCaul, Kealan Morgan
Commenting on the two results, Newry Reserves’ boss Ronan Casey said:
“Since our defeat in Coleraine, the lads have been magnificent. The performance against Ballymena was first class as they were extremely strong and I could see why they are highly regarded in this league. Full credit to our boys in that game though. Their pressing and movement was superb and at no stage did they panic when Ballymena held possession for long periods. Three nil certainly didn’t flatter us.
Coming up against Linfield was always going to be the yardstick for us. They have been hitting teams for cricket scores this season which isn’t surprising when you see the wealth of talent they have at their disposal. We had spoken at length in training through the week about giving a good account of ourselves and focusing on all of our own attributes and performing those well. If we did that, we felt we could we could really trouble them and that we did. On another night we could well have taken all the points but to take 4 points in a week from the top two sides in the division isn’t a bad return. We look forward to welcoming Moneyslane to the Showgrounds on Saturday in the Premier Intermediate Cup before our next outing in the league at home to Glenavon on Halloween night.”
Newry City AFC U20 Pre-Season Friendly Schedule:
Saturday 7th July NCAFC v Camlough AFC at The Showgrounds KO 12pm
Monday 16th July NCAFC v Fivemiletown at The Showgrounds KO 7.45pm
Saturday 21st July NCAFC v Dromara AWAY KO 2.30pm
Tuesday 24th July NCAFC v St James Swifts at The Showgrounds KO 7.45pm
Saturday 28th July NCAFC v Rockview at The Showgrounds KO 2pm