Darren King (10)

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© Ballyclare Comrades FC

EARLY KING GOAL ENOUGH FOR NEWRY

A Darren King early in the game handed Newry City victory over Ballyclare Comrades at Dixon Park.

Both sides have enjoyed a rich vein of form lately but it was Darren Mullen's visitors that started the better, turning their early dominance into what proved to be the winner on ten minutes when King was on hand to slam the ball into the roof of the net from six yards after a free-kick was flicked on.

Ballyclare almost responded straightaway when Andy Coleman was called into action to keep out a Thomas Robinson effort at the second attempt.

Newry might have doubled their advantage midway through the first half courtesy of Mark McCabe's header from a corner but Comrades keeper Ben McCauley made an excellent point blank save while Mark Hughes' follow up was cleared off the line.

The Comrades came within a whisker of levelling five minutes before the break when Ciaran Dobbin cut the ball back from the byline for Joe Tully to drive against the crossbar from inside the area.

Tully, and then Robinson, created further efforts early in the second half before Gary Donnelly fired over just after the hour mark.

But their chances of salvaging something from the game were dealt a blow in the closing minutes following John Dobbin's dismissal for a mistimed challenged and despite continuing to press they couldn't grab that elusive equaliser.

Ballyclare Comrades: McCauley, McCune, Robinson, J. Dobbin, Nolan, C. Dobbin, Tully, Malone, Henry, Doey, Donnelly subs McIlveen (not used), McNeill (not used), McCart (replaced Henry 61), Gray (replaced Nolan 67), Adamczyk (replaced Donnelly 79)

Newry City: Coleman, King, Montgomery, Boyle, McCann, McCabe, Foley, Hughes, Lavery, McKeown, McArdle subs Healy (replaced Foley 69), Moody (not used), Rushe (replaced Lavery 59), S. McCavitt (replaced McCabe 79), Moller Nielsen (not used)

Referee: Chris Morrison