City Knock on play-off door

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

City Knock on play-off door thumbnailMark McCabe scored Newrys winner on Saturday. Picture: Brendan Monaghan.

NEWRY City maintained their push for a play-off position in Championship One with Mark McCabe's hard fought single goal win away to Knockbreda on Saturday.


While the win came courtesy of another goal from McCabe, much of the plaudits must go to a solid defensive display in which John Boyle and in particular Dara Noonan stood out to ensure Newry's third clean sheet in a row. After the game it was that clean sheet which pleased Newry manager Darren Mullen.

"After a sluggish start I thought we were very good for the remainder of the first half," said Mullen.

" The movement, intensity and link play that was badly missing last week was there in abundance and we should have been more than one goal up at half time. The second half was a sluggish affair and we made hard work of what should have been an easier game.

"However, that's three wins in a row with no goals conceded and we have reacted really well to what has been our only defeat in our last 17 games. We are learning to grind out results and I'm sure we will need to do more of the same before the season is finished. It now sets us up for what should be a good game away to the league leaders next Saturday in Derry."

While the home side had much of the opening possession the first sight of goal came Newry's way, Mark Hughes set up McCabe with a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box, but Knockbreda keeper Jason Craighwell pulled off a comfortable save.

At the other end it took a superbly timed tackle from Paddy Mooney inside his own penalty area to nick the ball away from Kyle Mackie to protect the Newry goal.

It was now the visitors turn to force a series of corners and having gone close courtesy of a header from Darren King, which landed just over the bar, Newry made the next corner count, Noonan rose highest to power a header on goal, the ball rebounded down into a ruck of players, where McCabe like all good goal-scorers, was the first to react to stab the ball home, for a vital goal.

The best passing movement of the afternoon almost secured the game for Newry after 77 minutes, when Walker picked up the forward run of Mark Hughes who tricked his way to the end line before he pulled the ball back for Carville but his first time shot producing a fine diving save from Craighwell.

There was still time for two passages of play which could have changed the game. First a rare moment of sloppy defending by Newry presented a glorious opportunity for Dempster to level the score, this time it was Maguire who bailed out his defence getting enough on Dempster's shot to deflect it up in the air, play appearing to be in slow motion as the ball dropped over the crossbar much to the relief of the Newry contingent.

The visitors really should have made sure of the points with time running out when a Knockbreda player inadvertently turned the ball into his own half straight into the path of McCabe who had timed his run perfectly.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the opinion of the referee's assistant who immediately raised his flag for off side undoubtedly putting some doubt into the head of McCabe who continued towards goal but he shot tamely straight at the home keeper, only after the realisation that referee Diarmuid Harrigan had correctly waved play on.

Fortunately, the miss was not costly with no further chances Newry had already done enough to secure the points.

On Saturday Newry travel away to Institute FC, the Newry Travel Club Bus will be departing from the Stonebridge at 10.44am.

Match tickets and coach tickets for the Irish Cup match away to Linfield on sale at the Showgrounds Club Shop on Monday 29, Tuesday 30, Wednesday 31 and Thursday, February 1, from 8pm to 9pm.

Newry: Maguire, Noonan, Mooney, King, Boyle, McCann, Walker, Carville, McCabe, Johnston, M Hughes. Subs: Havern, Mullen, McArdle, S Hughes, Cunningham.

Knockbreda: Craighwell, Young, Culbert, McVeigh, Arthur, Hamill, Mackle, Newberry, Watts, O'Hanlon, McBurney. Subs: Dempster, Pike, Cafolla, Rice, Atkinson.


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