NEWRY CITY AFC: John Boyle header seals home success over 10-man Cliftonville

John Boyle celebrates his decisive goal in victory for Newry City AFC over Cliftonville. Pic by Pacemaker.
John Boyle celebrates his decisive goal in victory for Newry City AFC over Cliftonville. Pic by Pacemaker.

Newry City AFC earned a deserved win at home to Cliftonville - with John Boyle’s header proving the difference and the visitors also having Jamie Harney dismissed.

After a tepid opening half, two minutes before the break, some last-ditch defending came to Newry’s rescue as not one, not two, but three blocks kept their clean sheet intact.

After Stephen Garrett swung in a corner, Jay Donnelly saw his header blocked down to Harney. The defender’s close-range shot was deflected into the path of Conor McDonald but, once again, Newry had a number of players closing him down before the ball was eventually cleared.

Both sides made changes at the break to try and shake things up.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock seven minutes into the second half with Mark Hughes curling a free-kick from the left all the way to the back post where Boyle was on hand to head through the legs of Richard Brush and into the net to make it 1-0.

Things got even worse for the visitors less than 60 seconds later when Stefan Lavery beat the offside trap to go racing through on goal.

He was bundled over right on the edge of the box by Harney and referee Ross Dunlop showed the defender a straight red card.

With City on the frontfoot, Brush was forced to beat out a Stephen Hughes effort from 18 yards before substitute Conall Delaney opted to pass seconds later when he was through on goal and should probably have shot.

It was City who had the next big chance of the game three minutes later when Delaney dispossessed Aaron Donnelly 25 yards out before Mark McCabe slipped in Mark Hughes.

His shot was only partially saved by Brush and Donnelly got back to clear it for a corner.

Newry City AFC: Coleman, King, Noonan, Boyle, McCann, Carville, S.Hughes, M.Hughes, Lavery (McCabe, 65), Teggart (Delaney, 46), Montgomery.

Subs (not used): Walker, McCaul, Rushe, McArdle, Healy.

Cliftonville: Brush, Ives, Breen (A.Donnelly, 46), Harney, C.Curran, Garrett (R.Curran, 55), McDonald (Maguire, 55), Bagnall, Catney, Gormley, J.Donnelly.

Subs (not used): Neeson, McGovern, McConnell, Lavery.

Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus).