Newry making their mark on Danske Bank Premiership - Darren Mullen
Danske Bank Premiership: Newry City 4 Carrick Rangers 1
NEWRY City manager Darren Mullen says his side’s impressive victories in their last two league outings are proof they learnt from their harsh lesson at the Ballymena Showgrounds a fortnight ago.
City thumped Carrick Rangers 4-1 at the Newry Showgrounds on Saturday night, which followed up a 3-2 midweek win over Ballymena United.
James Teelan netted a double and Donal Rocks and Philip Donnelly were also on target as Newry eased past to move into ninth in the Danske Bank Premiership table. The back-to-back wins came on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Ballymena that Mullen says served as a wake-up call to his side.
“The last two games show that the players are stepping up to the mark when needed,” the long-time City boss said.
“We learnt a harsh lesson at the Ballymena Showgrounds the other week, which shows what can happen in this league when you’re not at it – and we can’t afford to let that happen. But the players are buying into message and the last couple of games have proved that.
“We played well in the win over Ballymena and it was important to build on that. Against Carrick, we came out of the traps quickly, then we conceded a sloppy goal but the lads recovered from that and put on a decent performance.”
Saturday’s win moved Newry 11 points clear of the relegation play-off zone and above Ballymena in the table, who play Crusaders tonight, and Mullen is well aware of the importance of getting results against the teams around them.
“Ballymena and Carrick were the two teams in the bottom six who we hadn’t beaten, so now we’ve beaten the five teams around us. It’s difficult against the top six, it’s almost like a different league they have that much quality. But we need to keep winning games and if that takes us up the table, so be it.
“We’ve now got 15 points from 15 games and, while we’ll not be getting carried away, the gap it puts between us and the danger zone creates a nice feeling.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Larne went three points clear at the top of the table courtesy of a 5-0 hammering of Portadown at Shamrock Park. Ben Doherty netted twice for the visitors against the Premiership’s basement club, while Leroy Millar, Lee Bonis and Cian Bolger also got themselves on the scoresheet for Tiernan Lynch's pacesetters.
The night before, Glentoran had turned down the chance to go top of the table as they played out a scoreless stalemate with Coleraine at Ballycastle Road. More worrying for the Glens was the injury suffered by Conor McMenamin in a tackle by Dean Jarvis.
Initial X-rays showed McMenamin had suffered a cracked fibula, which could keep him out for eight weeks, but the Glens star is now awaiting the results of an MRI scan to determine whether he will be out for even longer.
A Ryan Curran double gave Cliftonville a 2-0 win on the road at Dungannon Swifts, while Linfield beat Glenavon 2-1.