Newry City: Vital victory seals rise off on the rise off bottom at expense of rivals Ards

Newry City AFC manager Darren Mullen. Pic by Pacemaker.
Newry City AFC manager Darren Mullen. Pic by Pacemaker.

Second-half strikes from Mark Hughes and John Boyle saw Newry City leapfrog Ards and move off the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership table with their first win since the start of September.

The first period showcased just why these two sides are at the bottom of the table, but although any sort of free-flowing football was hard to come by, there were plenty of chances for the deadlock to be broken.

Ards boss Colin Nixon. Pic by INPHO.

Ards boss Colin Nixon. Pic by INPHO.

Thomas McCann had the first effort for the home side in the second minute when his first-time 25-yard drive was held by Ards keeper Sam Johnston.

It was the visitors who then had the better of the opportunities thereafter and, after Dara Noonan had scrambled the ball clear with Eamon McAllister lurking on the quarter hour, they almost took the lead four minutes later.

This time it was the other McAllister, David, who swung in a corner from the right and Kym Nelson rose highest in a crowded penalty area to power his header goalwards, only to see Andy Coleman produce a terrific one-handed stop to keep it out.

City captain Mark Hughes then stung the palms of Johnston with a shot from the left after being played in by Declan Carville on 25 minutes before the hosts were nearly the architects of their own downfall just two minutes later.

Coleman’s quick throw-out to Dale Montgomery saw Craig McClean dispossess the City midfielder and, seeing Coleman just off his line, the Ards full-back attempted a cheeky lob from 25 yards that dropped just over the crossbar.

There were chances at either end within 60 seconds of each other at the tail end of the first half - with Johnston called into action again three minutes before the break as he held on to Noonan’s header following a Montgomery free-kick.

But it was Ards who went the closest of either side in the opening 45 minutes when David McAllister’s snapshot from the edge of the box whistled just past the post.

Coleman came to Newry’s rescue 10 minutes after the restart when Frazer played in Mark Kelly, but he saw his shot superbly saved by the City keeper.

That had come just two minutes after Johnston had made a fine stop of his own to keep out Stephen Hughes’ low drive from the edge of the box.

City then broke the deadlock 15 minutes from time when Mark Hughes found a way through down the left and his low shot from 20 yards beat an unsighted Johnston to go in off the right-hand post.

It took just three more minutes for them to double their advantage. Mark Hughes’ corner from the right was met by Noonan and although Johnston made a superb save, the ball fell to Boyle who rifled in the rebound from 12 yards.

Newry City AFC: Coleman, King, Mooney, Noonan, Boyle, McCann (McCabe, 74), Montgomery, Carville (McArdle, 88), S.Hughes (Healy, 90), Teggart, M.Hughes

Subs (not used): Maguire, Walker, Lavery, Rushe

Ards: Johnston, E.McAllister, Byers, Taylor, Elebert, Frazer, M.Kelly, J.Kelly, D.McAllister (Strain, 76), McClean, Nelson

Subs (not used): Mooney, Kerr, Cherry, Mitchell, Tommons, McAleenan

Referee: Ian McNabb