Mullen looks at the positives
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
NEWRY City manager Darren Mullen saw his side lose a fifth game on the bounce on Friday night as Limavady won by a solitary goal.
Limavady United ...1
Newry City AFC ...0
With just over an hour gone and Newry in possession midway inside the Limavady half, a calamitous decision to pass the ball 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.
He drew Murphy from his goal line before drilling the ball into the net, despite a valiant attempt by Kevin McArdle to save the day for Newry.
Before that the game was largely level. Newry held 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 crossbar, was the closest they came to turning that dominance into a goal.
It took the home side almost 30 minutes to test Murphy, Colin Murray crossed for Robbie Hume, but his snap shot was 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 ran 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 and shooting low across goal, but the Roesider's keeper Paul Wells deflected 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 lined up to swing a free kick to the back post but instead he slipped a straight pass into the path of Havern who swiveled to shoot but it was 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 equalised 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 but he was unfortunate to steer his effort wide with Wells beaten.
Pushing for the equaliser 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 after 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," he said.
“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, January 7, 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 McCaw, Marcus McKeown, Martin Havern, Keith Johnston James Walker and Mark Hughes. Subs: Ryan Quinn, Mark McCabe, Timmy Grant, Sean McMullan and Mark Patton.
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