Sports

City go 12 games unbeaten.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

City go 12 games unbeaten. thumbnail Keith Johnston takes on Joe McWilliams of PSNI on Saturday at Newforge Lane.

NEWRY City stretched their unbeaten run to 12 games after a comfortable 3-0 victory over a tough, resolute PSNI side at Newforge Lane on Saturday.

PSNI ...0
Newry City AFC ...3

City were easily the superior side and despite some robust tackling from the home team, Newry avenged an earlier-in-the-season PSNI defeat at the Showgrounds.

City had two first half penalties with Jimmy Walker netting one and having the other saved by the home keeper Jordan Williamson but with just two minutes gone in the second half Newry skipper John Boyle made it two with a deft header.

On 53 minutes the Police had right back James Montgomery red-carded after a wild lunge at Decky Carville and the match was over ten minutes later when Mark McCabe coolly lobbed home a third City goal.

Newry manager Darren Mullen was pleased at his side's performance, saying: "It was disappointing not to score with the second penalty as a two-goal cushion at halftime would have been nice to build on; but we knew we were playing well and the opportunities were there to pick them off.

"And we knew they had to come out a bit more in the second half and thankfully they did. We had a comprehensive victory and it could have been more than the three. And it was also nice to keep a clean sheet. It was a good all round, solid performance.

"It made it easy getting the goal early in the second half. It was something that we worked on." On the sending off, Mullen was right when he said: "They could have had more that one sent off as they lost their discipline a bit and we did well to keep ours.

That why we took Jimmy (Walker) and Decky (Carville) off as they had bookings and we want to save them for Boxing Day.

"We've been playing good football all year and sometimes we haven't got the rewards for it. We have maybe played better than we did today and didn't win games. But it all fell together nicely today. And it was a well-deserved victory for us.

"When we played them at the Showgrounds in the first half hour we were by far the better team but they picked us off. We learned bits and pieces in that game and even myself as manager learned things.

Then we were a bit exposed at the back. Still we've learned from it. We've learned playing against teams like the PSNI who were happy to sit back - but it shows the respect we are getting.

"That's 12 games unbeaten for us in all competitions.

It's a magnificent run and to be sitting third in the Championship in our first year is a big progression.

But we are only halfway through the season and we won't be getting carried away."


On the City defence, Darren said: "They had two big physical lads up front who were a handful but that's the thing about the team. Not only do we play good football but we have lads who can dig in, defend and do the dirty work.

"Even when Engine (Darren King) came off, Neil (Mullen) stepped in and was very comfortable. Jackie (Ruairi Cunningham) hasn't trained recently but he came in today and was super. That's the whole point in having a good squad. It's not the biggest but there's quality there. Jackie stepping in shows that," said the City boss.

The match sprang to life on 15 minutes when referee Stephen Taylor pointed to the spot after Mark McCabe was taken down in the box. Up stepped Jimmy Walker and he sent the Police keeper Jordan Williamson to his right before calmly dispatching the ball into the opposite corner.

It was an ideal start and it could have been better just five minutes later when Keith Johnston crossed from the right but his centre was halted by the arm of PSNI defender Aston McDermott.


Again Taylor pointed to the spot and again Jimmy Walker shot to the keeper's left. Though this time Williamson guessed right and beat out Walker's effort with Thomas McCann firing the rebound high over the bar.

With the City defence marshalled well by John Boyle and Darren King and with Mark Hughes and raiding full back Kevin McArdle and Ruairi Cunningham pushing forward at every opportunity the visitors had the home side on the back foot for most of the half.

Still the break arrived with no further scoring.

However, just two minutes after the restart Jimmy Walker curled in a corner kick from the left with John Boyle getting on the end of the kick, the central defender stooping to nod into the bottom corner of the Police net.

Then came that PSNI sending off on 53 minutes and the match, as a contest, was over on 63 minutes.


Ruairi Cunningham picked out the speedy Mark McCabe with a super defence-splitter. The striker was clean though on goal and hit the goal of the match with a cool, calculated lob over the stranded Police keeper Williamson.

The match was a triumph for the City side and there was not one under-performer in the team.


Indeed so well did City play that Newry keeper Stephen Maguire didn't have one worth-while shot to deal with all afternoon. On this performance, things are looking good for the rest of the Championship campaign.

On the Boxing Day match against Lurgan Celtic at the Showgrounds, Darren Mullen said: "We'll look forward to that game. I'm sure the wives and partners aren't too happy but from a football prospective I think it's great to have football back at the Showgrounds on Boxing Day.


We are on a terrific run and hopefully we'll get the support the lads deserve." "We'll train Tuesday and Thursday as normal but if we lose two or three players it will leave us a bit short. We haven't a big squad. The lads who have stepped in have done terrifically.

Paddy Mooney is still not fully fit, Conor McCaul is still out and Chris McMahon was on the bench today.

The squad is stretched but we have a good bunch of lads who are willing to play in whatever position I have asked them."


On the transfer window opening in the New Year, Darren admitted there will be players coming in, as he said: "There will definitely at least one coming in and hopefully two. We spoke to the guys before the game and told them how they play in the next two games will determine what I do in the January transfer window.

"I don't think I need to bring in a raft of players but if you bring in one or two new faces, it freshens things up. And it will show we're not happy to sit on our laurels.

"We want to keep pushing on and if we can get one or two quality additions that will be great. Because that's what its going to need. We won't be adding for the sake of it. We want players who are as good as or better and hopefully we can do it," concluded the City manager.

Newry City: Stephen Maguire, Kevin McArdle, Ruairi Cunningham, Darren King, John Boyle, Thomas McCann, James Walker, Mark Hughes, Mark Mc- Cabe, Decky Carville and Keith Johnston with subs: Neil Mullen for King (50), Robbie Mackin for Carville (68) and Marty Havern for Walker (74). Chris McMahon and Leigh Crooks both not used.

PSNI: Jordan Williamson, James Montgomery, Nathan Riddle, Aston McDermott, Scott McCrory, Johnny McClurg, Joe Williams, Ryan Barry, Chris Watts, Lukasz Adamczyk, Owen Moody with subs: Paul McDowell, Nathan Ichan, Charlie Martyn, Aaron Cochrane and Louis Simpson

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