Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup, Round Five
Newington 2-1 Ballymoney United
NEWINGTON FC thumped on towards the sixth round of the Irish Cup after a thrilling 2-1 victory over Ballymoney United at Solitude on Saturday.
The game displayed some amazing football despite the freezing weather and Newington kept up the pressure on Ballymoney to eventually see themselves through.
The game opened evenly, with Ballymoney getting the first shot on goal when Lewis Magee took a nice shot on target only for it to be saved by ‘Ton ‘keeper Marc Maybin.
The North Belfast men hit back two minutes later with a fantastic corner from Jack Reilly, which delivered the ball straight to the head of Darren Stuart but the chance was deflected last minute by the Ballymoney defence.
Ballymoney kept up the attack, hoping for an early goal, and did manage to get one at 15 minutes but it was offside and ruled out. Two more chances then followed for Newington, Jack Reilly’s going over but the second chance, a brilliant cross into Tiarnan McNicholl was deflected by Ballymoney ‘keeper Liam Coyle right off the line.
Up until the half-time mark, Ballymoney had another two chances, by Luke Taylor and Gerald Gillan, but both were deflected by the ‘Ton’s tight defence.
In the closing minutes of the first half, the North Belfast men got another chance, but Tiarnan McNicholl’s shot didn’t have the power behind it to see it through and it was wrapped up by Liam Coyle. The half ended with Ballymoney man Karl Steele getting a yellow card.
The second half opened up again with both teams giving as good as they got but the ‘Ton attack gradually pushed Ballymoney back further and further into their half until it became a test of deflecting the many attempts on goal launched at them by Newington.
The ‘Ton got their first goal 52 minutes in with a cracking pass from Patrick Downey to Darren Stewart saw the Antrim Road men put the ball in the back of the net. There was some quibbling as to whether or not the goal was offside but referee Diarmuid Harrigan allowed the goal, putting the ‘Ton a goal up.
This short lead wasn’t to last however as Gerald Gillan for Ballymoney equalised four minutes later. The scoreline was now 1-1 and the ‘Ton got down to work to ensure they would get ahead of the Ballymoney men.
The Antrim Road men then tried three more shots at goal seeking to score and having the effect of wearing down Ballymoney. The three attempts, one by Patrick Downey and two by Francis Rice went wide, over the top and saved but each one was a close attempt from a short distance and it seemed to weaken the morale of Ballymoney.
At 63 minutes Newington made their first of three substitutions with Kevin Bradley coming on for Patrick Downey and Joseph Reid coming off for Michael Morgan, Morgan would go on to be a lightning rod for Newington for the rest of the match. The third substitution saw Tiarnan McNicholl come off and Padraig Slane come onto the field.
Three minutes later Ballymoney made their first substitution with Ryan Craig coming off for Matthew Knight.
The next 10 minutes saw two more attempts from Newington from Padraig Slane and a brilliant header from Darren Stuart which was saved just on the line again in another very close call.
At 78 minutes, a foul in the box from Ballymoney saw Newington awarded a penalty, giving them an excellent chance to power ahead. The shot was taken by Darren Stuart but was saved by Liam Coyle in an incredible diving save, denying the Antrim Road men the chance to push the scoreline forward.
Despite the setback from the missed penalty, Newington still remained on the attack and this was finally rewarded on 81 minutes when substitute Michael Morgan displayed some unbelievable talent by running rings around the Ballymoney defence and outsmarting their ‘keeper Liam Coyle to drive the ball into the back of the net, putting the ‘Ton back on top at 2-1.
The last few minutes of the game saw Newington replace their ‘keeper Marc Maybin for Gerard Walker. Darren Stuart also came off for Conal Burns. Ballymoney also made a substitution of their own with Conor Ross coming off and Mark Gordon coming on.
The match ended shortly afterwards with the Antrim Road men heading through to the sixth round of the Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup where they have been drawn away to Ballymena United.
Newington progressed into the sixth round of the Irish cup today, Stuart and Morgan grabbed the goals for us to set up an away tie against @BallymenaUnited. We were pushed all the way from @ballymoneyutdfc today and made to work for our win.— Newington FC (@NewingtonFC) January 7, 2023
Speaking after the game ‘Ton manager Paul Hamilton said: “This game was a good distraction from the League.
"It was a good team performance today and our subs really impacted the performance today so I want to give my full credit to them. Overall I’m delighted to be in the next round of the Cup. We don’t care how we get there, as long as we get there and that was our aim today.
“It’s a real tough League we’re in at the minute and we’re the new boys on the block so we’re just finding our feet.
"We’re learning every game, our players are learning as our the coaching staff and management and it’s a process we’re looking to go forward with in the League.
"In the League, any time can beat any other team depending on the day but I do want to give credit to Ballymoney today because they’re really up for it and they got stuck in from the get go and gave us a hell of a game today.”
NEWINGTON FC: M Maybin, F Brennan, M Gorman, R Gowdy, D Stuart (goal 52 minutes), P Downey, T McNicholl, J Reid, N Cummings, F Rice, J Reilly
Subs: G Walker, K Bradley, C Burns, C Adams, M Morgan (goal 81 minutes), P Slane
BALLYMONEY UNITED: L Coyle, C Douglas, L Taylor, K Steele, K Crawford, C Ross, P Keane, R Craig, J Rohdich, G Gillan (goal 55 minutes), L Magee
Subs: T Parkhill, M Gordon, M Knight, T Hutchinson
REFEREE: Diarmuid Harrigan