In the end it was a fairly predictable outcome, making it 25 defeats in 25 matches this season for Kilroot Rec – although Newington’s 2-1 victory wasn’t quite the wide margin some had anticipated.
Kilroot boss Terry Thomas told the Times: “It was a close one. It could have gone either way. We were much more competitive, getting Paul Braden, Chris Blayney and Jonny McFetridge back from Larne helped, although we were without Simon Hamilton, which was a big loss.”
He added: “The pitch was atrocious – and two good finishes were the difference!”
Opposite number Davy Rollo didn’t disagree about the surface, claiming that on a better pitch, his side would have won by a more handsome margin. “We still could have won five or six had it not been for their goalkeeper Gordon Priestly, who was absolutely brilliant - the clear man of the match.
“We weren’t great, but it was a derby and it was always going to be awkward, especially on that pitch. We didn’t play well, but I’m more than happy with the three points!”
Newington took a 10th-minute lead when Rec old boy Paul Thompson rifled found the top corner, after Marty Stirling had chested down a cross from namesake Jamie.
Priestly distinguished himself with saves to frustrate Paul Thompson, Daryl Ingram and Mark Hagans, before Rangers went further ahead on 62 minutes when Marty Stirling lashed a free-kick into the top corner.
The Kilroot net-minder then produced arguably his best save of the day to defy Matt McDonald, who was then involved in the action in his own box on 75 minutes when a Wallace Nelson cross struck him on the hand. Referee Jackie McKnight pointed to the spot and the only Kilroot player to score since mid-November, Stephen Bittles, made no mistake with the penalty.
The match was kindly sponsored by Terry McLaughlin of the World Police and Fire Games.
Man of the Match: Gordon Priestly, Kilroot Rec.
Newington Rangers: Quinn; Brown (Glover)), Grant, J Stirling, Hagans – P Thompson, McDonald, J Thompson– Ingram (Brennan), M Stirling, Crockett (McGivern).
Kilroot Rec: Priestly – McAuley (Aston), Braden, Blaney, Wilson – Potts, Cole, McFetridge, Kidd (Nelson) – Rea, Bittles. Sub (unused) McElnea.
Referee: Mr Jackie McKnight, Ballyclare.
Kilroot Rec players in; Chris Blayney, D; Paul Braden, D, Jonny McFetridge, M, all from Larne FC.
Don’t miss this week’s Times for Alan Hall’s comprehensive Amateur round-up which includes reports from Barn United, Larne Tech, Grange Rangers, Whitehead Eagles, Mossley FC, 18th Newtownabbey, Wellington Rec and Nortel.