Mully to the four
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
NEWRY City turned what the Irish FA had selected as the tie of the second round in the Intermediate Cup into a one-sided affair with a comprehensive win over high flying Ballymena United Reserves at The Showgrounds on Saturday.
Newry City AFC ...5
Ballymena United Reserves ...0
The game saw the return to the starting line-up of last season's leading scorer Sean McMullan and the big man made the most of the opportunity bagging four quality goals in a 5-0 win.
Another who grabbed the chance to enhance his rising reputation was goalkeeper Jack Heaney who capped a solid competitive debut with a splendid save from a penalty kick when his side were leading by a solitary goal.
Newry manager Darren Mullen said after the game: "This was a very solid performance from start to finish against a team that has been doing very well this season.
“We knew they would be good on the ball and full of running so we had to make sure they had no space or time to play.
“The players carried out our tactics to perfection and only for some terrific saves from their keeper we would have won by more.
“Jack Heaney had an excellent debut and pulled off a super save from a dubious penalty at a crucial time. At 19 he is a very good prospect and working with Micky Keenan can only make him better.
“Mully will rightly grab the headlines for his goals and he must be praised for his attitude both on and off the pitch this season which hasn't been the easiest for him.
“Overall it was a very pleasing performance and sets up nicely for our cup semi-final this Friday night."
That opening goal for Newry arrived after ten minutes, Conor McCaul turning defence into attack with a centre field run before laying the ball wide to Mark Hughes, Hughes lost his marker before curling a cross into the box for which McMullan rose between Ballymena defenders to power a header into the top corner of the net to give Newry an early lead.
The visitors were given a lifeline minutes later when the referee ruled that Tyler Wilgaus had been bundled over as he received a throw in to his feet inside the box.
With a golden opportunity to change the game, up stepped Adam McCracken to drill a low hard shot to Heaney's right but the Newry keeper diverted the ball for a corner with an excellent save.
Having dodged the threat of level scores the Newry boys rewarded Heaney's efforts with a second goal after 20 minutes.
Newry was awarded a corner on the right and Jimmy Walker created a diversion by showing for a short pass, allowing Declan Carville to ghost into the box unmarked.
He was superbly picked out by Hughes' cross and Carville headed the ball into the six-yard box where goal predator McMullan stooped to head past Ballymena keeper Tom Hegan for his and Newry's second goal.
With the Newry defence well on top, Ballymena's chances were dealt a severe blow on the stroke of half time when Fra McCaffrey was shown a straight red card for dissent.
Any lingering hopes which the visitors held were virtually extinguished on 48 minutes when Mark Patton won the ball inside his own half before cutting the Ballymena defence with a perfect pass for Walker to pick up in his stride, taking a touch before laying the ball across the face of goal for McMullan..
Hagen was truly keeping the score down. On the hour mark Greg The goal chances that followed had to eventually bear fruit and from the resulting corner they did in spectacular fashion.
Patton headed the ball down to McMullan who, with his back to goal, juggled the ball before volleying over his head into the top corner of the Ballymena net for a picture goal.
It was a case of how many at this stage with goal number five coming on 70 minutes after Greg McCabe once more made his way forward bringing the ball across the edge of the box before cleverly back heeling to Havern who drilled his shot high into the roof of the net.
Newry now turn their attention to Friday night's Bob Radcliffe Cup semi-final against Coagh under the floodlights at The Showgrounds, kick off 7.45pm.
NEWRY CITY AFC: Heaney, G McCabe, King, Mooney, McCaul, Patton, Walker, D Carville, McMullan, Havern and Hughes. Subs: M McCabe, Mullen, Edgar, Durnin and Paul Carvill.
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