Mitchell’s late goal puts Newry City to the sword in Coleraine
It has been a difficult stretch for Gary Boyle’s side, as they have came up against four straight ‘top six’ sides – Crusaders, Larne, Glentoran and Coleraine – with three goals scored, 15 conceded, and no points put on the board.
Despite that, City have continued to make improvements in said fixtures, which they will hope can stand to them as the season goes on.
On Saturday afternoon, having made the longest journey distance-wise for any fixture in the Sports Direct Premiership, Newry had been holding their own throughout the first half, but a goal five minutes from the break put Coleraine ahead. City switched off and a quickly taken free was worked to Josh Carson, and he finished low and hard to open the scoring.
Following several complaints from the players regarding a kit clash, Coleraine returned for the second half in a changed strip as they switched out of their traditional blue and white striped jerseys into gold for the second half.
Despite the change in the uniform there was no change in quality for the home side and their ‘gold standard’ performance continued, as Matthew Shevlin made it 2-0 on 56 minutes, connecting with a Jamie Glackin cross to nod home from close range at the back post.
However, Newry didn’t throw in the towel and summer signing Lee Newell scored his first Premiership goal for his new side to make the final stages of the game very interesting. With just under a quarter of an hour to go, the former Rathfriland striker chanced his arm from 25 yards out and found the bottom corner of Martin Gallagher’s goal to give the visitors hope of a stirring comeback.
But it was Coleraine who had the last laugh, as on 90 minutes the Newry defence was turned over while playing the ball out from the back. Shevlin played the ball through for Andrew Mitchell and he was able to squeeze his shot past Tom Murphy at the near post to make it 3-1 and put the result to bed.
Following the defeat, Newry City manager Gary Boyle spoke to the media to give his thoughts.
“I sound like a broken record, in that the performance was really good but we were punished by a very clinical team following two lapses of concentration, which we’re frustrated with,” he said.
“But we were certainly well in the game. They put us under pressure towards the end of the first half but unfortunately we weren’t able to ride that storm. But I can see progression, particularly against these so called ‘top six’ sides, and we’re getting closer to a result.
“When you’re playing well, you have to take advantage of that. I think we had ‘moments’ without creating any real clear cut chances. We picked up good positions in wide areas and didn’t make the most of it, and that’s frustrating.
“But, we’re getting into those areas and our performance levels – I definitely believe – are getting better.”
Newell’s goal on 77 minutes put Newry back in with a shout, but unfortunately for City, they couldn’t complete the comeback.
“In the last couple of weeks, we have called on the lads to have the game in the melting pot going into the last five minutes,” said Boyle.
“We just weren’t able to kick on which is frustrating, but we were there – which we have to take confidence from.”