Newry City 2-0 Loughall
Newry completed their home league programme with a regulation 2-0 victory over Loughgall in this rearranged tie. The result means that Newry remained unbeaten at home during their league campaign, with 10 wins and 3 draws.
This was a low key affair, with attention very much turned to next week’s play off and the cup final to follow and manager Pat McGibbon made a number of changes to his side. Most notable among these was the inclusion of young Chris McMahon who was promoted to the first team after a fine season with the reserves.
The game was slow to come to life and it took until the 20th minute for the first moment of note. McMahon’s cross was met by Marty Havern, but his header was saved by Robinson. On 34 minutes Newry took the lead. Former Newry player Steven Ferguson played a sloppy cross field ball which was intercepted by Havern. He passed into the path of Hanaphy who took one touch and dispatched a weak shot which somehow got past Robinson and into the net. On 43 minutes, a strong tackle from Don Tierney won the ball and he played it wide to Havern whose cross was nodded down by Daniel Hughes to Hanaphy, but this time Robinson dealt with his flick towards goal.
The second moiety opened with Stephen Hutchinson breaking up a Loughgall attack with a strong tackle. The ball was played up to Havern who advanced unopposed towards goal before unleashing a dipping 30 yard drive into the top right hand corner of the net. The visitors responded with a rare attack and when the ball broke in the box to a Loughgall forward, his shot was superbly saved by Nathan Morley-Hillen.
Newry bolstered their ranks with another couple of young substitutes in Joel Annett and Neil Barr. On 63 minutes, Barr’s tackle on Ferguson released Hanaphy, whose shot was turned round the post by Robinson. From the resulting corner, the ball came to Don Tierney and his fierce drive fizzed over the bar. Late on, Morley-Hillen was again called into action to save with his feet before Barr and Hanaphy had chances for City.
The game fizzled out with Newry in control and they now have one more league fixture to fulfil, at Larne, before their three big games to finish the season. In the circumstances, it was a largely uneventful game, but particularly pleasing was the composed display from McMahon at right back as well as the cameos from Annett and Barr. The former made a composed display and won his share of headers and tackles at centre back , while Barr showed up well with his strong running and tackling.
It is also worth mentioning that Newry have now completed a home league campaign without a defeat largely based on a solid defense that has kept 21 clean sheets. A large part of the credit for this must go to the goal keeping duo of Buchanan and Morley-Hillen and a defence which has rotated around Devlin, King, Copeland, Hutchinson, McCabe, Donegan and M Hughes.
Final score in Newry, Newry City 2-0 Loughall.
Newry Team: Morley-Hillen, McMahon, McCabe (Annett), Hutchinson, Copeland, Tierney (S Hughes), Hand, M Hughes, Havern, D Hughes (Barr), Hanaphy. Subs not used: Grant, Devlin.
Newry Times Man of the Match: Chris McMahon
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