Belfast Telegraph

Mullen happy to see Newry prove they have bottle for survival fight

Newry City manager Darren Mullen
Newry City manager Darren Mullen

By Gareth McCullough

Darren Mullen has revealed that the accusation Newry had been 'bottling it' at the end of matches by conceding late goals was at the forefront of his mind at the break during last Friday's vital victory over Ards that lifted them off the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

With Newry 2-0 up and firmly in control courtesy of early strikes from Stephen Hughes and Mark McCabe at The Showgrounds, had Ards pulled one back, it could have changed the complexion of the tie.

City have had an unwanted habit of conceding late on this season, but Tiarnan Rushe's free-kick 20 minutes from time put paid to any notion of an Ards comeback as Newry won for the first time since November.

City even saw Dale Montgomery's penalty saved by Ards keeper Sam Johnston late on as they looked for a fourth.

Mullen said: "I mentioned it at half-time, the fact that we're conceding goals, and somebody actually mentioned it to me that maybe your lads are bottling it towards the end. That's not a nice accusation to have and I knew we weren't bottling it. We haven't had a lot of luck towards the end of games, so it was vital that we got that third goal.

"We made it easier for ourselves by working so hard. The lads never stopped working.

"If we had been beaten, it would have been extremely difficult," added Mullen, whose side visit Warrenpoint Town today.

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