Sports

Newry run riot in first leg

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Newry City 4 Armagh City 0

THE NIFL Championship promotion/relegation play-off result seemed beyond doubt after Tuesday's first leg, as Newry City ran riot over an Armagh City team that was second best all over the pitch.
The visitors started brightly, with Shea Campbell firing a couple of long range efforts wide in the opening minutes.
Newry fired back immediately and on 10 minutes had a claim for a penalty waved away as Declan Carville took a tumble in the box under a challenge from Armagh 'keeper John Connolly.
Moments later, Campbell fired another effort on goal following a good flick on from Conor Mullen, but the shot was easily gathered by Newry 'keeper Kieran Gordon.
The home side took the lead midway through the half as they broke quickly down the left before Mark Hughes crossed into the middle where midfielder James Walker met the cut-back in stride to fire Newry into the lead.
They almost doubled the lead moments later when the impressive Keith Johnston cut in from the right, but he could only shoot tamely wide after good pressure by full-back Paul Carvill.
Newry did extend their lead just moments before half-time, as Armagh appealed from a free-kick for what looked like a dangerous challenge on Sean Mallon but the ball broke to Carville who made no mistake with a smart finish.
The second half got underway with the Eagles already struggling to stay in the contest and retain their place in the NIFL Championship, but it was Newry who came out on the offensive. 
Hughes and Walker both had efforts on Connolly's goal in the opening minutes after the restart, before a snap-shot fell to Mullen for Armagh but Gordon was in position to save easily.
City manager Marty Rice made a double change to try to change the direction of the contest, but it was all in vain as Newry added a third on 69 minutes.
A disputed free-kick was awarded to the home side just inside the Armagh half, and as the ball was drifted into the box there was confusion in the defence and Johnston was on hand to dispatch the ball into the net.
Connolly had to be alert to keep Armagh in the contest at all just moments later as we was out sharply to deny Mark McCabe from close range.
On 79 minutes Armagh had their opportunity to salvage an away goal and get back into the tie when Mullen did well to tee-up substitute Matthew Hynds but he fired the ball just over the bar from 12 yards.
The game, and seemingly the tie, were put beyond doubt in injury time as Armagh defender Stephen Hutchinson's misguided header back towards Connolly was pick up by Johnston who coolly finished to give Newry a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead going into the second leg on Friday night at Holm Park.
Armagh City: John Connolly, Dale Montgomery, Paul Carvill, Eoin Toal, Stephen Hutchinson, Luke Grimley (Conor Kerr), Sean Mallon (Ultan Lennon), Johnny McSorley (Matthew Hynds), Jasir Camara, Shea Campbell, Conor Mullen. Subs not used: Stefan Graham, Eamon Kelly.
Referee: Tony Clarke.

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