McCabe at the double
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
AT this stage of the season it's all about gaining league points and on Saturday Newry City secured another three at The Showgrounds with a professional if uninspiring performance against Queen's.
Newry City AFC ...2
Newry are currently a point off the top of the table and they have turned their season around after a blip and manager Darren Mullen was pleased but isn't taking his recent upturn in form for granted.
“This was a solid if unspectacular win and continues our good run of form," said Mullen.
“It's fair to say Queen's didn't cause us many problems but in games where we have plenty of possession our final ball needs to better.
“That was the case in the first half although the conditions didn't help either side. I made a few changes to the team and the shape, which made us look a lot more solid defensively.
“Getting the clean sheet was pleasing as it's something we have been emphasising in recent weeks.
“Mark McCabe is starting to fulfill his potential and has been leading the line superbly in recent games. That said, he would be the first to acknowledge the work the lads do in behind him to create his chances. "We have put ourselves back in the mix for a top six position but know how quickly things can change and the game against Newington this Thursday will be a good test for us."
Credit must go to Queen's as for the second week in a row Newry found their well-organised opponents difficult to break down.
Newry had virtually all the possession in the opening 25 minutes but were limited to speculative efforts from outside the box, apart from one good chance for Mark McCabe, who forced a fine save from Conor Lally with a half volley.
Although deserved, Newry's opening goal owed a little to the weather as Lally's clearance was knocked down by the wind to Jimmy Walker before it got over the half way line. From there however Newry were clinical, Walker made ground before playing the ball wide to Keith Johnston, before he curled a low cross into the box for McCabe to slide onto and he diverted the ball expertly into the roof of the Queen's net to put Newry a goal up.
Chances were thin on the ground for the rest of the half, Ian Curran unlucky with a glancing header from a Walker corner while Queen's spurned a half chance to equalize with the half almost up.
It was all Newry at the start of the second half, with a goal scoring opportunity coming almost straight from the kick-off. McCann split the Queen's defence with a pass, which left Johnston with only Lally to beat, but the Queen's keeper was quickly off his line to save.
The hosts had a big let off on the hour mark, a long ball straight down the pitch caused confusion between goalkeeper and defenders, but Newry were fortunate that the loose ball did not fall to a Queen's player before being hacked clear.
Newry sealed the points on 70 minutes with a second McCabe goal, Hughes laying the ball into the path of the over lapping Stephen McCabe, on the run McCabe swung a pin point cross to the near post perfect for McCabe to rise highest at the near post to head into the top corner for his and Newry's second and final goal.
Newry's next match is on Thursday 16th Feb against Newington, kick off at 7.45pm at Seaview, Shore Rd, Belfast. Newry City travel club bus will leave The Stonebridge at 6.15pm.
NEWRY CITY AFC: Murphy, S McCabe, McArdle, Curran, Mooney, Patton, Walker, McCann, M McCabe, Johnston, Hughes. Subs: Carville, Grant, McKeown, Taylor, King
QUEEN'S: Lally, Plant, Gibson, Harper, McManus, Hannon, Tumilty, Keenan, Rooney, Jones, Hughes. Subs: Orr, Keenen, O'Hare, Briers, Brown.
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