Ballinamallard Utd Res 3
Newry City 1
Ballinamallard Reserves were back to their best to record an excellent 3-1 victory in the Intermediate Cup against Newry City.
The side, a mix of youth and first teamers bossed the first 20 minutes on the Ferney Park surface, playing some attractive football and giving the visitors little chance on the ball.
However it was not until the 15th minute that the home team made the possession pay when Jake Dykes picked out Steve Feeney who had ghosted in between the Newry central defence to power his header past Peter Murphy to put the Mallards one goal up.
The Newry response was positive as they also discovered the pass and move brand of football.
And they also got the reward of a goal on the half hour mark although initially it looked as if the chance had been wasted.
Ian Curran pitched a long pass towards Sean McMullan on the edge of the box, the big man nodding the ball into the path of his partner Keith Johnston who was unlucky to see his dinked shot brilliantly tipped wide by teenager Jordan Coulter in the Mallards goal.
However the chance was not lost as the resulting corner made its way across the face of the goal to Neil Barr at the back post from where he blasted past Coalter to bring Newry level at half time.
Newry started the second half in the ascendancy with young Josh Durnin looking very much at home in the centre of midfield.
Indeed it was Durnin who almost created the first opening of the half receiving the ball from Johnston and then laying the ball back into his path but just out of his team mates reach with the Ballinamallard goal gaping. At the other end Newry relied on a perfectly timed sliding tackle from Conor McCaul to snuff out a break by Courtney.
Barr almost doubled his and Newry’s goal tally on 65 minutes when he received a throw in inside the Mallards box and with his back to goal spun his marker and fired a low shot across Coalter which the keeper did well to grasp at the second attempt.
Play swung immediately to the other end with Newry fortunate not to concede twice inside a minute.
First, with the Newry players calling for what looked like a push on the back of Ian Curran, Feeney showed his experience making the most of the momentary hesitation drilling in a low shot which Murphy dived low to his left to push around the post.
The Mallards kept the pressure on from the corner which followed, Newry grateful to McMullan who also showed his experience to hover behind his defence to be in position to clear the ball from the line when a Mallards goal looked likely.
The reprieve was temporary however as Feeney rose highest to nod home the corner which followed. And although Curran forced Coalter into a save from a snap shot on 78 minutes the rest of the game belonged to the home side who closed the scoring with minutes remaining when Michael Doorois broke down the right wing and swung in a low cross which was just out of Murphy’s reach but fell into the path of Ollie Russell who finished at the back post.
Reserves manager Scott Robinson was delighted with his side’s cup performance.
“We knew we had to be patient and we were. They were very physical but we kept possession very well.
“I felt we controlled the first half and we didn’t get sloppy,” he said.
“It was a great response from the players after some poor performances in the league. Now it’s back to getting our league form back on track and on the form we showed on Saturday, there should be no excuses,” he said.