Newry survival hopes are lifted by victory over relegation rivals
Newry City 3 Ards 0
Newry City picked up their first win since November at the perfect time to move off the bottom of the table with a fine performance to leapfrog Ards in the standings.
It was the first time this season the home side have scored three goals in a league match and they were full value for their victory.
After a period of early pressure, Newry took a well-deserved lead in the 11th minute.
Declan Carville headed a free-kick into the box, and as two Ards defenders got in each other's way, Mark McCabe cleverly laid the ball back into the path of Stephen Hughes and he made no mistake with a cool finish from 12 yards.
With the home side searching for a second goal, after Darren King had fired a low drive into the side netting on 19 minutes, they doubled their advantage two minutes later with a well-worked goal.
Captain Mark Hughes played the ball down the left wing where Stefan Lavery outpaced Adam McAleenan before playing it low to the near post where McCabe was on hand to turn it home past Sam Johnston.
The hosts almost put the game to bed on two occasions inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half, with Johnston coming to Ards' rescue both times.
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The first came when Dale Montgomery's clever free-kick was curled low round the wall where Johnston got an excellent hand to the ball to keep it out.
Then, on 57 minutes, substitute Tiernan Rushe broke clear down the left and his lifted effort was excellently tipped over the bar by the Ards keeper.
But Rushe did make it three 20 minutes from time when he was taken down on the edge of the box.
He dusted himself down to curl a wonderful effort into the top left hand corner just out of Johnston's reach.
Four minutes from time, Newry could have made it 4-0 when Mark Hughes was tripped inside the box and referee Keith Kennedy pointed to the spot.
However, Johnston guessed the right way to save Montgomery's penalty - his eighth spot-kick stop of the campaign.
NEWRY CITY: Coleman, King, M Hughes, Noonan, Boyle, McCann, Montgomery (Moody 89), S Hughes, Carville, McCabe (Pender 89), Lavery, (Rushe 39)
Subs not used: Maguire, Walker, Teggart, Durnin.
ARDS: Johnston, McAleenan (McClellan 74), McClean, Taylor, Byers, J Kelly (Cherry H-T), D McAllister, Tommons, E McAllister, M Kelly (Shearer H-T), Henderson
Subs not used: Davidson, Kerr, McCawl, McNulty
Man of the match: McCann (Newry)
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Keith Kennedy