Newry City are the 2012 Mid-Ulster Cup Champions
Glenavon 0-1 Newry City
Newry secured their first piece of silverware since 2007 with a deserved Mid Ulster Cup victory over Glenavon at a wintry Mourneview Park last night (7th March 2012). Manager Pat McGibbon made two changes to the team that had lined out against Ballymena on Saturday, with Stephen Hutchinson and Timmy Grant replacing the injured Ricky Copeland and unavailable Stephen Hughes.
Newry were on top from the outset, but failed to turn their dominance into goals. Former Newry goalkeeper Andy Coleman did well to deny Marty Havern, while his goal led a charmed life at times as Newry failed to convert a number of goalmouth scrambles. Newry went closer still when Darren King’s shot crashed off the crossbar, before Coleman was again called into action to deny Darragh Hanaphy.
A rare chance for Glenavon saw Gerard Rooney head wide before Newry belatedly took the lead in the 36th minute. King’s cross was met by Hanaphy who controlled and teed up Darren Freeman. The midfielder curled a delightful effort into the net to give Newry the lead.
Newry almost doubled the lead minutes later when the lively Hanaphy’s cross was met by Marty Havern at the back post. Havern’s header hit the inside of the post before being scrambled clear by Coleman, with the Newry man adamant that the ball had crossed the line. Then, just before the break, Hanaphy turned his man and raced clear, only to be denied by Coleman again, who saved with his feet.
Newry will have been disappointed to have only a one goal lead at the break and were almost made to pay early in the second half. Lavery evaded Buchanan in the box and pulled the ball back for Gary Hamilton but his shot was blocked away to safety. Newry responded with a Havern header that dropped just over the bar, but with a strong wind and driving sleet behind them, Glenavon were now making much more of a game of it than in the first half. They were particularly dangerous from free kicks and corners, with Hamilton’s delivery dropping the ball right in the danger area. Now it was Newry who were smuggling it clear in a number of goalmouth scrambles.
Newry, however, remained a constant threat on the break and one Grant cross was met by Stephen McCabe but Coleman got down to turn away his shot. Skipper Darren King also made a notable lung bursting surge up the wing in attempt to double City’s lead, receiving a roar of approval as he charged past the Newry fans which unfortunately came to nothing but still got the Newry crowd going again. Timmy Grant and Darragh Hanaphy both had efforts wide as Newry sought breathing space, but it never came and Freeman’s goal goes on the record as a goal worthy winning of any game and most importantly, appropriate cup final winner for City.
The final whistle was greeted enthusiastically by the travelling support who acknowledged that this team were deserving of some tangible reward for their hard work and perseverance this season. A season that is far from over.
Newry City Team: Buchanan, King, McCabe (M Hughes), Donegan, Hutchinson, Devlin, Freeman, Tierney, Grant, Havern (Hand), Hanaphy. Subs not used: Masterson, D Hughes, Curran.
Newry Times Man Of The Match: Darren Freeman.
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