IT was not a happy return to the Park for the 18th Newtownabbey trio of manager Garry Campbell, assistant Bobby Steele and coach Glen McCrum as their old club Mossley snatched all three points with a 3-1 win in Saturday’s Division 1C derby.
Campbell told the Times: “Nobody out there could dispute that we were the better team, playing the better football, creating most of the chances, but the better team didnt win the game because the players in front of goal have to put the ball into the net and they didn’t do that. Maybe we were a bit complacent, up against a Mossley side who hadn’t played in five weeks. Mossley were without their usual keeper Dwayne Jenkins. I think we thought it was just going to be a matter of time before the goals would come – but they didn’t!”
Opposite number Campbell Graham agreed: “We rode more than our luck out there. We were down to the bare bones, with big Dwayne (Jenkins), Craig Fellows and Mark Kernaghan all pulling out at the last minute. It really was backs to the wall, but I knew Lee Graham’s pace would worry them on the break. I thought the effort from our team were immense.”
18th defender Sammy Chambers rode his luck during the match, conceding two penalties with two ‘last-man’ challenges inside the box. His manager added: “I thought they were offside for the first penalty – but maybe going down to 10 men would have given us the shake we needed. We played really well with 10 men a few weeks ago against Dromore!”
The Monkstown side had most of the early possession but home right-back Michael Acheson made three crucial clearances to defy Ricky Moore (twice) and Terry Lyness.
At the other end, Darren Jordan lashed a Gary Orr cross wide, after keeper Simon Hamilton had let the ball slip from his grasp on the edge of the box. Orr blasted a free-kick into the 18th wall, while the unmarked Jordan failed to get a meaningful touch to an Orr free-kick,
Newtownabbey went close through Lyness and Robbie Torrens before setting the wheels in motion on 36 minutes, when Ricky Moore was ‘spot-on’, punishing Stephen Proctor’s needless foul on Paul Harper.
Three minutes after the break, however, Mossley were back on par; plausible offside appeals from the visitors went unheeded as Orr flicked the ball on for Graham who was chopped down by Chambers. Orr himself tucked away the resultant penalty.
Jackie and Ricky Moore, Paul Harper and Ryan McClelland all had chances to restore 18th’s advantage, but instead it was Mossley who nosed in front with a well-taken set-piece on 63 minutes – with Gary McCord slipping the ball wide for the nippy Graham to scamper through and drill the ball in off keeper Hamilton.
That started off an 18th cavalry charge with the Moores, substitute Brian Galloway the two Harpers all squandering opportunities. The best opportunity came when Lyness headed wide from just a few yards out.
Three minutes into injury-time, keeper Scott Hamilton raced up field and got onto the end of a left-wing corner, only to spoon the ball over the bar.
Mossley had the final say with Graham racing through before being sent crashing to the ground by Chambers. This time he lifted the ball himself and steered it into the bottom left-hand corner.
Mossley FC: Murray – M Acheson, Young, Proctor, G Acheson– Richmond, J McKinney, McCord, Jordan – Orr, Graham. Sub not used: Crowe.
18th Newtownabbey OB: Hamilton – S Chambers, McKnight, Hunter – McClelland, Rea (J Harper), Torrens (Galloway), P Harper – Lynas, J Moore, R Moore.
Referee; Mr Norman Allen, Carrickfergus.
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, Newington Rangers, Kilroot Rec, Wellington Rec and Nortel.