Football/Soccer

Coleman determined to make the Showgrounds a fortress

Cliftonville’s Chris Curran is denied by Andy Coleman Photo Aidan O’Reilly/Pacemaker Press
By Padraig Kelly

NEWRY City goalkeeper Andy Coleman has said that the side are aiming to make the Showgrounds a fortress as they continue their impressive start to life in the Premiership.

Darren Mullan's team earned their best result of the season to date as they defeated Cliftonville 1-0 on Saturday, and they have now taken six points from a possible nine in front of their own fans.

Their one home defeat was a 2-1 loss to Glenavon with the visitors profiting from a controversial penalty decision in the first half.

“That's our third game at home now and we've beaten Dungannon comfortably and we've beaten Cliftonville comfortably too.

“Anyone who was at the match on Saturday would have seen that we maybe should have won by three or four goals.

“The one that we lost we felt hard done by. We put in a brilliant performance against Glenavon that Friday night and we felt that we were robbed.

“We need to be making our place a fortress though and somewhere teams don't want to go.”

John Boyle's 52nd minute goal was enough for Newry on Saturday with the Reds losing Jamie Harney to a red card moments later as he took down Stefan Lavery as he broke through on goal.

It leaves Barry Gray's side languishing in ninth position in the table and Coleman said that they were confident that they could keep the Reds out after a diligent week on the training pitch.

“We had a game-plan for Saturday and it was to hold our shape for as long as possible.

“We were letting them have the ball, letting them try to break us down and we knew the longer the game would go on the more they'd be frustrated.

“In the first half they had a lot of possession but didn't do anything with it. We were happy with that.

“We sat in during the first half and we planned to have a go at them in the second, which we did.

“Credit to Darren and the coaches, they had a plan and the boys carried it out to a tee. The work was done on the training pitch on Thursday night.”

Coleman believes that one of the side's biggest advantages is their links with the local area.

The team is made up almost entirely of players from the city itself or from nearby areas like Warrenpoint, Camlough, Corrinshego, Forkhill and Lissummon.

That, their goalkeeper believes, is one of the main reasons why the supporters are coming out to watch them.

“I can't believe the crowds that are coming out,” he said.

“We must be averaging near 1000 for the Friday night games and we had a big crowd down again there on Saturday.

“It's good performances that are taking these people through the gate and we're working hard.

“We're all local lads and we're all mates and we just want to play for the club.

“That's down to Darren and the coaching staff. When they started the club back up they said that they wanted to give local lads their chance and that's the way it has been.

“They've stuck to their principles as the club moved through the divisions and they're reaping the rewards now.”

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