Maniacís the man for City.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A SUPER hat-trick from centre forward Mark 'Maniac' McCabe and a strike from Stephen Hughes sealed all three points for Newry as they travelled to Loughgall.


'Just about as good as it gets' was the unanimous opinion of the Newry supporters after they watched their team outclass their Championship rivals to record a 4-0 win.

The victory, which moved Newry up to third in the NIFL Championship table, satisfied Newry manager Darren Mullen.

"After last week's disappointing end to the game, the players knew themselves we needed a positive reaction and I couldn't have asked for much more from them in this game," said Mullen.

"It was a dominant performance from start to finish and my only gripe at half time was that we hadn't scored more.

"We never looked troubled but that is only due to the work that goes on from the front to back. Mark will rightly get the headlines for a terrific hat-trick but every one of the 14 that played did exactly what was required of them.

"We were solid defensively, our link play in midfield was a joy to watch at times and thankfully the forward players did what we know they can do - finish those moves off in style.

"One of the pleasing things about the team tonight is that eight of those starting played for us last year and have adapted brilliantly to a higher standard of football.

"No one epitomises that progress more so than Jimmy Walker who has been with us from our first season and looked top class this evening."

While it takes a complete team performance to win by this margin away from home, it was a virtuoso display from Jimmy Walker which lit up the 90 minutes.

The midfielder displayed a range of skills to spell danger for the home side every time he was on the ball.

Indeed, it was a floated free kick from Walker which produced the first goal after only five minutes.

Walker's ball to the back post did, however, need a brave challenge from Darren King to head the ball back across goal to leave McCabe with the simplest of tasks to finish from close range.

McCabe's second goal on 14 minutes was very different, although once more it was Walker who provided the ammunition.

A long pass from Walker from inside his own half, perfectly bounced into the stride of McCabe who wasted little time blasting a first time shot high into the roof of the Loughgall net from the corner of the penalty area.

The game was all but over as a contest after 26 minutes when the home side were reduced to 10 men.

Walker skipped past the Loughgall players once too often for Marcus Dallas, who lunged with both feet raised into the Newry man, and the referee showed a straight red card.

On the half hour mark, Newry had another chance to make it three. Carville made room to take the ball from Maguire before spotting the run of Keith Johnston behind the Loughall defence.

With Buchannan rushing from his line, Johnston chipped his shot over the advancing keeper and as the ball was heading for the net, a last gasp clearance from Craig Taylor saved his side.

With the points more or less in the bag, Newry were content to play keep ball in the opening period of the second half.

It was Newry's two main men involved in the third goal. Walker's side foot pass was turned on goal by McCabe and although Buchannan blocked the striker's first time shot, there was little the keeper could do with Stephen Hughes' clinical finish from the rebound.

Goal number four was worth waiting for after a sweeping move from the defence ended with Kevin McArdle playing the ball wide to Stephen Hughes.

Hughes took time to pick out McCabe arriving at the back post and he sealed a deserved hat trick with a neat side foot volley to round off the scoring.

Next up for Newry is a home match against league leaders Ballyclare Comrades this Saturday (November 18) with a 3pm kick-off.

Commenting on the huge tie, Mullen said: "We are on a terrific run but there's way too much experience on and off the pitch to get carried away.

"Next week's game offers another test against the league leaders but one that we are really looking forward to."

Newry City AFC: Maguire, M Hughes, McArdle, Boyle, King, McCann, Walker, Carville, McCabe, S Hughes, Johnston.

Subs: Havern, Cunningham, McKeown, Hutchinson, Mullen.


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