Newry off to a flying start!

Bourneview YM 0-3 Newry City AFC (10th August 2013)

Neil Barr claimed a hat trick as Newry City AFC made their debut on the Mid Ulster stage at Pepperton Park on Saturday against Bourneview Young Men.

The Newry team has been completely rebuilt by the management team of Darren Mullen, Ray Byrne, Jervis McCaul and Mickey Keenan and they must surely have been pleased not only to get the first win on the board but also with the all-round team display.

It was a match which Newry virtually dominated from start to finish. Rock solid at the back, skilful in the middle of the park and powerful up front, Newry were on top in every department. However it was not until the 26th minute that they were able to convert the superiority into goals. Prior to this the travelling supporters may have been worried that it was going to be one of those days as first Neil Barr had a goal ruled out by a very dubious off side decision by the referee who otherwise had a very good game.  This was followed by a chance for Mark Lowry who latched onto a neat Jimmy Walker through ball only to see his low shot beat both the out rushing keeper but the far post to slide wide. Nerves, however, were soon calmed when John Smyth and Chris McMahon combined in midfield before McMahon skipped past a defender and laid the ball to the feet of Barr who with his back to goal turned and smashed a pile driver which the keeper could only get his hand to but which continued into the far top corner of the Bourneview net.

Newry continued to dominate and on the half hour mark a long cross from Jimmy Walker evaded everyone except the hard working Smyth at the back post who controlled and brought the ball back inside the defender. With everyone expecting a curling shot to the far post Smyth fired a snap shot to the near post only to be cruelly denied when the ball pinged off the post to safety. And the away team were again denied when McMahon again fed Barr who played a one two with his partner Lowry only for his lob over the outrushing keeper to be cleared of the line.

Newry were nearly made to pay for these missed chances soon after the restart when a throw in was flicked on to the head of the Bourneview centre forward Geoff Neill who was unfortunate to see his effort graze the cross bar. This however was the only real threat on the Newry goal and the travelling support did not have to wait long until the points were safe. On 51 minutes Paul McElroy’s defensive header from the half way line looped into the Bouneview box was latched onto by Lowry who controlled and shot only to see his effort cleared of the line. Fortunately the ball fell to the predatory feet of Barr who smashed the ball to the net. And the striking duo linked up again for Barr’s hat trick when Lowry won a contested header and then pressurised the defender into an ill judged back pass which Barr intercepted before placing the ball past the keeper and into the net for his and Newrys third and final goal.

In a very sporting contest Newry were the sharper side throughout with a tough preseason reaping reward. The defence of Crilly, McVicker, McCaul and McElroy marshalled by goal keeper Peter Murphy were largely untroubled but were on top when needed. Up front Barr and Lowry linked well and worked hard but it was in midfield where Newry buzzed. Captain Chris McMahon, Dundalk men Hand and Smyth combined with Man of the Match Jimmy Walker to boss the game and to create many chances which on another day with more composed shooting would have resulted in more Newry goals.

Final word must be saved however for the management and committee of Bourneview who were welcoming host’s for Newry City AFC’s first competitive fixture. NCAFC wish them well for the rest of the season.

Next Fixture: Newry City AFC v Banbridge AFC, Tuesday 13th August. Newry Showgrounds K.O 7:30PM.

Newry City AFC Team: Peter Murphy, Niall Crilly, Gary McVicker, Conor McCaul, Paul McElroy, James Walker, Sean Hand, Chris McMahon ©, Neil Barr (3), Mark Lowry, John Smyth. Subs: Paul Daly (J.Smyth), Chris Hughes, Joel Annett (McElroy), Shane Lundy, Chris Smyth (Lowry).

Bourneview YM Team: Andrew Neill, Ross McDonald, Dale Compton, Tom McClelland, Andrew Topley, David Kennedy, Robert Potts, Wayne Holland, Geoff Neill, Eamon Ligget, Chris Traynor. Subs: David Waterson, Chris Agnew, Ross Gray, Mark Boyce.

Team photo courtesy of Decky McParland