Crusaders 2 Newry City 1
For the second time in 10 days, Newry City conceded a late goal and tasted defeat against Crusaders.
On a wet night in north Belfast, City boss Gerry Flynn will know it doesn’t just rain, it pours when you are fighting at the wrong end of the table.
After David Rainey’s late winner blasted the border boys out of the JJB Sports Irish Cup, this time it was Michael Halliday who delivered the knock-out blow with a last minute penalty.
It was all square at the break with Jonny Magee heading in the equaliser for Crusaders after Paul Keenan’s opener but the late drama ensures the Crues leapfrog Cliftonville and Glentoran into second in the Premiership.
The visitors took the lead in the eighth minute. Alan Davidson claimed an impressive assist, sprinting into the box and squaring the ball to Keenan who drilled in the opener.
On 23 minutes the equaliser arrived when Chris Morrow chipped a ball to the back post and keeper Andy Coleman was left scrambling along his goal-line as Magee rose highest to plant a close range header into the net.
In injury time Jordan Owens’ drive was headed off the line by Gavin McDonnell as the Hatchetmen searched for a cutting edge.
Five minutes after the restart Stuart Dallas shook the City crossbar when he twisted and turned in the penalty area before unleashing a powerful shot.
Owens pounced on the rebound but his low drive struck Conor Hagan near the base of the post.
Substitute Declan Caddell directed a lob over the crossbar but it was another sub, Halliday, who netted the winner.
Tommy McCallion chopped down Caddell in the box and the ex Glentoran striker kept his cool to break the visitors’ hearts.
CRUSADERS: Murphy, McKeown, McBride, Magowan, Dallas, Rainey (Halliday 74), Morrow (Caddell 67), Magee, Owens, McMaster (Cassidy 80), Watson. Subs not used: Gibson, Sweeney.
NEWRY CITY: Coleman, Black, Convery, McDonnell, Hagan (King 53), Downey (Hazley 73), McCallion, Graham, Davidson, Murray, Keenan (Havern 84). Subs not used: Taggart, Munster.
Referee: Peter McGrath (Belfast).