Three quickfire Linfield goals sink City at The Showgrounds
Sports Direct Premiership: Newry City 0 Linfield 3
Three Linfield goals in the space of 10 second half minutes sank Newry City to defeat at The Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.
Matthew Fitzpatrick, Joel Cooper and Kirk Millar were the trio who found the Newry net, but City manager Gary Boyle wasn't pleased with the officials ruling on Linfield's second goal - which ultimately put the game beyond his side's reach.
In the build-up to the second goal, Newry defender Darren King was dispossessed by Fitzpatrick in side of his own box, and the Newry boss felt his player had been barged to the floor illegally.
The referee Keith Kennedy disagreed, allowing play to continue, and Fitzpatrick squared for Cooper to finish, much to the bemusement of Boyle.
"I think there is controversy around the second goal," he said, after the game.
"I think it's an easier decision to give it (as a foul) than to not give it, and I think that decision has had a huge bearing on the game."
Newry failed to register a shot in the first half, but would have been pleased with their performance, as they prevented Linfield from creating too many clear cut chances themselves, despite David Healy's men having the vast majority of the possession.
The closest the league leaders came to scoring in the first half was when Millar's wide free kick found an open Chris McKee, but his header was flicked over the bar by a brilliant reaction save from Steven Maguire.
Newry were sharp coming out of the dressing room for the second half, and came within inches of taking a surprise lead when King met a Thomas Lockhart effort at the near post and glanced a header goalwards. However, his attempt went just inches wide.
Whilst Newry were unlucky, the luck would fall Linfield's way five minutes later, as Newry switched off for a drop ball (after Adam Salley suffered a head injury), Cooper squared it, and Fitzpatrick - after seeing his initial effort come off of the post - was Johnny on the spot to tap home from a yard out.
The game then went from a close contest to being virtually over in the blink of an eye, as Linfield doubled their lead through Cooper's controversial goal, before a Millar cross was spilled into the Newry net by Maguire.
Newry did have positives to take from the last half hour, as both Salley and Lee Newell came close to scoring, but Linfield preserved their clean sheet.
Up next for City is a Bet McLean League Cup tie away to Carrick Rangers on Tuesday evening.
For full match report and more reaction, see this week's Newry Reporter. In shops Wednesday November 8!