Five-goal Kilkeel ease past Newry

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

IT was mixed fortunes for these sides last weekend with Kilkeel comfortably beating South Antrim, whilst Newry were humbled and well beaten at home to Mossley.

Kilkeel Men's Firsts...5
Newry Men's Firsts ...1

This is always a competitive fixture with it being a derby and this one proved no different, with some tough tackling from the first whistle.

The opening five minutes consisted of both teams battling hard in the midfield trying to make their mark in the game, with no real clear-cut chances being created in this period.

However, it wasn't long until the home crowd had something to cheer as Kilkeel took the lead on seven minutes.

Some quick thinking from a long corner allowed David Finlay to be played in on goal and he calmly reversed his finish past the oncoming 'keeper for 1-0.

It was a really good goal from the hosts and they soon doubled their lead just minutes later.

With the high press working well, Kilkeel stole the ball back and won themselves a penalty corner.

The initial shot from David Rae was saved by the 'keeper but the rebound was turned in by Jonathan Aiken, who reacted quickest to make it 2-0.

Kilkeel were playing some fantastic hockey with some really good passing moves from front to back that Newry just had no answer for at all.

After a stunning 10 minute-spell from the home side, the game quietened with both sides losing the composure they previously had in possession and the final third.

The Kilkeel defence hadn't been too busy in the game so far, but they were tackling excellently when called upon with Neil Stevenson leading by example at the heart of the defence.

Ashton Graham, David Finlay and Luke Russell were all looking extremely dangerous going forward with their pace and skill giving the Newry defenders plenty of problems.

Both sides were looking threatening, but weren't creating any chances of note until the visitors won themselves a cheap penalty corner.

Thankfully for Kilkeel, David Rae was well placed on the line to clear the goal-bound effort and keep the scoreline at 2-0.

This near miss woke Kilkeel up a bit and they responded in the best way possible, by going up the other end and making it 3-0.

Once again another lovely bit of play involving Edward Agnew, David Rae and Mark Stevenson culminated in the latter firing the ball in from the right to the awaiting Mark Henning, who saw his initial shot blocked.

But he was quick to pounce on the rebound and coolly finish for 3-0.

The home side was looking menacing going forward and soon got themselves a fourth as David Finlay received the ball on the right and fired home a powerful shot past the 'keeper at his near post to grab his second of the game.

The visitors had looked toothless in attack from open play but they did create one really good opportunity before half time.

A long aerial ball from the back found a Newry forward in acres of spaces, but he pulled his shot wide of the target to mark the end of a miserable first half for the visitors.

Kilkeel were in the driving seat and if they kept up the same level of performance, they could find themselves celebrating a big victory.

The problem for the home side this season though is they haven't been able to do that and as they had done in previous matches. They started the second half slow, allowing Newry to get an early foothold and control the tempo of the game.

Despite the slow start, Kilkeel did score themselves a fifth goal six minutes into the second half.

Edward Agnew and Jonathan Aiken linked up perfectly before Agnew unselfishly squared the ball to the unmarked Luke Russell at the back post, who tapped in for 5-0.

This brought Kilkeel back to life again and they could have easily scored two more goals just moments later, but on both occasions Jonathan Aiken could only find the pads of the 'keeper.

Newry had only really looked dangerous from set pieces and they would have had two quickfire goals themselves from penalty corners if it wasn't for Kilkeel 'keeper Sam Morris who stood firm to save well on both occasions to keep his clean sheet in tact.

It was an end-to-end game now and next it was Kilkeel who missed a couple of great opportunities to get their sixth.

First Mark Stevenson played a fantastic ball through to an unmarked Jonathan Aiken who tried the spectacular with a lob over the 'keeper which was off target.

Then David Finlay was played in behind the Newry defence but he was just unable to finish from close range with his shot going passed the 'keeper but also the far post.

The visitors had improved in the second half and they did get their reward as a goalmouth scramble inside the Kilkeel defensive area culminated in a penalty stroke being awarded.

It was converted coolly by captain Colin McKnight to reduce the deficit to 5-1.

At times the level of hockey played by the hosts was of an extremely high standard and they showed it once again as a long ball was fired in to John Finlay.

He produced a lovely bit of skill with his first touch that went straight to his brother, David on the right hand side who won a penalty corner.

Unfortunately it could not be converted as Mark Henning saw his drag flick saved.

As the game entered the final few minutes, Newry continued their efforts to further reduce the deficit, but they couldn't find a way through and so the game finished 5-1 to Kilkeel.

It was a really good performance from the team who could have won by a larger margin had their finishing in the second half been as good as the first.

Next up is a tricky trip to Portadown on Saturday as they look to try and secure top spot in Group A of the Kirk Cup.



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