Magherafelt Sky Blues were comprehensively defeated 1-3 in their first home league game of the season against Newtowne in the Ballymena and Provincial Premier League.
A stunning Michael Devlin strike after only 5 minutes gave the Blues a false dawn as they were second best for the remainder of the game. Devlin broke clear following good work by Ciaran Monaghan and Thomas Beattie, and the centre midfielder showed superb composure to deftly chip the visiting keeper from 18 yards. This was certainly a contender for goal of the season.
The Blues had certainly caught Newtowne out and could have been three clear if they had taken the early chances gifted to them. Monaghan failed to get his shot away when one on one with the keeper’, while moments later Aaron Hawe’s header was cleared off the line.
Newtowne very quickly played their way back into the game with some very attractive football. They moved the ball around with great composure. Pass and move was the motto of Newtowne and they put on an excellent display in front of a large crowd.
The equaliser from Newtowne was a goal of the season without any doubt. A ball into the box was cleared into the air but the Newtowne forward produced a text book overhead kick and ball finished in the bottom corner. Stunning finish and one of the best seen at Spires Park.
The visitors then created chance after chance and only for last ditch defending and some sparkling goalkeeping from Martin Farniouk the Blues were hanging on. Farniouk produced one sensational fingertip save when a goal looked likely. Newtowne made went 1-2 up when they finished from close range despite the best efforts of Farniouk.
The second half was completely dominated by the visitors and it was only a matter of time before they scored the third. A excellent cross from the right saw the unmarked striker head high into the top corner. Declan O’Neill put in some excellent challenges at the back to deny the visitors on at least two further occasions. The only Blues chance of the half saw Stephen O’Neil fail to capitalise on a goal keeper spill and the ball ran wide.
On a bright sunny day the Blues did not sparkle at all and manager Seamus Quinn will have been very disappointed with the all round effort put on display. He will be looking to see considerable improvement in the games on Tuesday away to Desertmartin and at home to FC Ballynure next Saturday.