Mark Hughes celebrates scoring Newry's third goal (©INPHO/Freddie Parkinson)
Wednesday, 09 May 2018
Newry City clinched their place in the Danske Bank Premiership, a fourth promotion in five seasons, with a superb play-off victory over Carrick Rangers.
Darren Mullen's side finished the job they started last week after defeating Carrick by a single goal in the first leg but they had to do it the hard way after initially seeing that slender advantage disappear.
Paddy McNally opened the scoring for Carrick just before the half-hour mark when, from a long free-kick, he controlled the ball on his instep before cushioning a finish past Steven Maguire.
And McNally had another chance soon after from a Liam Hassin cross only to head straight at the Newry keeper.
The visitors levelled on the night, and regained the lead on aggregate, when a Kevin McArdle shot was blocked by Harry Doherty. In the scramble that followed, McNally was adjudged to have fouled Mark McCabe inside the box prompting referee Evan Boyce to award a spot-kick which was duly converted by Stephen Hughes with a finish low to Doherty's left.
Carrick almost grabbed a second goal five minutes from the break only for Mark Edgar to see a free-kick tipped onto the crossbar.
However, it was Newry that seized the advantage ten minutes into the second half when McArdle dummied the ball to roll through for McCabe to confidently beat Doherty one-on-one.
Rangers attempted to hit back, with McNally sending a volley narrowly wide on the hour while Edgar saw a free-kick well saved.
And the goal that sealed it for the visitors came with just over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when Mark Hughes broke on the counter attack to slot past Doherty, and make sure of Newry's place in the top flight whilst condemning Carrick to the drop.
Carrick Rangers: Doherty, Smyth, Edgar, Surgenor, McNally, Chapman, Taggart, M. Smith, Hassin, Henderson, McNulty subs Gage (not used), Glackin (replaced Hassin 70), McAllister (replaced Smyth 70), Morrow (not used), Mooney (not used)
Newry City: Maguire, Noonan, King, Mooney, Boyle, McCann, S, Hughes, Carville, McCabe, McArdle, M. Hughes subs Mullen (replaced McArdle 81), Johnston (replaced Carville 88), Walker (replaced S. Hughes 90+1), McCaul (not used), McMahon (not used)
Referee: Evan Boyce
|Stephen Hughes||90 +1||36p|
|Jimmy Walker||90 +1|