Newry City Wanderers 3 : 2 Portadown (Under-18s)
Straight from the kick off Newry got at their opponents and within 5 minutes went ahead when D’Arcy was fouled just outside the box. Gourley sent over a great cross from the resulting free kick and Joel Annett got ahead of his marker to head home. The same combination nearly made it two when from a corner Gourley again delivered a good cross but this time Annett headed straight at the ‘keeper. Cunningham was then unlucky with a spectacular overhead kick and the same player cut back for Lenaghan whose effort sailed past the wrong side of the post.
Newry were controlling the game with Hastewell outstanding in midfield and on the rare occasion that Portadown threatened they were faced with a stubborn Newry defence with Redpath and Stephen Annett superb, but with the game ending 0-1 at halftime Portadown were still well in with a chance. The second half started in the same fashion as the first with Newry on the front foot and within minutes had forced another corner. Gourley again provided the cross which Annett again got his head to and the ball fell to Cunningham whose effort was blocked on the line and in the goal mouth scramble that followed Redpath was first to react and thump the ball into the roof of the net.
It was no more than Newry deserved but there was still work to be done against a strong Portadown team and Rowney had to be at his best to deny them with a terrific flying save, but on the hour Newry extended their lead when Lenaghan was played through by Edgar; the big striker did well to hold of the defender before poking the ball under Davidson in the Portadown goal. Newry could and should have added to the scoreline through Quinn, Cunningham and McMahon only for some fine saves by Davidson.
However, with Newry seemingly home and dry suddenly things suddenly got very nervous as the home side pulled a goal back from a corner after a rare lapse in defence by the visitors. Portadown then got a second when their striker ran clear and hit a great effort into the top corner giving Rowney no chance. The momentum was now with the home side but Newry stayed strong to secure the 3 points which they fully deserved.
It was a terrific performance by the entire team with Redpath, Hastewell & Steven Annett the outstanding performers for Newry. Annett just shades Man of the Match with a rock solid showing.
Newry City Team: Rowney, Redpath, Hodgett, J. Annett, Hastewell, S. Annett, Gourley, D’Arcy, Edgar, Cunningham, Lenaghan, Quinn, McMahon, Doak, Feehan, Dillon.
Newry Times Man of the Match: Steven Annett.
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