This game survived a pitch inspection. On a very cold, windy day summer football seemed like not a bad idea.
Daniel Culbert was suspended and Sean Walsh missed the game with a hamstring injury. There were debuts for new signing from Ards, Owain Beggs and the returning Matt McManus from Knockbreda.
Newington were on top from the start and missed three good chances in the first 15 minutes. From right wing crosses Sean Adams, Conal Burns and Joe Finlay all missed the target when it seemed easier to score. Against the run of play Queen’s scored after 17 minutes when Thomas Plant fed Owain Beggs on the right wing and his cross found James Ferrin who struck a great low, left foot shot into the net from 15 yards. On the half hour Queen’s should have been two up. Mark Prenter broke clear and was brought down as he tried to round the Newington keeper Dean Smyth. A clear penalty and a red card seemed certain but the referee pointed to the spot and gave Smyth a yellow card. James Ferrin’s spot kick hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and Ferrin following up struck the ball into the net but the ref correctly disallowed the goal as no other player had touched the ball. Just before the break Ferrin had another chance at the near post but Smyth saved his effort.
After the restart the game became increasingly ill tempered and Mark Prenter of Queen’s and Newington’s Stevie Brennan were sent off. Newington dominated the latter part of the game and were denied what would have been a deserved equaliser by the heroics of Queen’s keeper Declan Brown who made two outstanding saves especially the second one when he got fingers to a great shot heading for the top corner and turned the ball onto the crossbar and away to safety. Amid a late flurry of yellow cards Queen’s hung on for their first ever win against Newington.
The three points was about all there was to enjoy in this game played in very difficult conditions and in an ever more unpleasant and aggressive atmosphere. The final whistle brought a welcome end to proceedings. Daniel Hanna received a nasty ankle injury. We hope it not too serious and that he will be soon back in action.
Next up is a league game away to runaway league leaders Lurgan Celtic on Sat 7th February. Please note that all Sat games now revert to 3pm kick offs.
Queen’s University: Declan Brown, Thomas Plant, Zac Fletcher, James Ferrin, Adam Robinson, Mark Prenter, Matt McManus, Kevin Hagan, James Lavery, Owain Beggs, Daniel Hanna.
Substitutes: D. McMahon, Stephen McDowell, M. Allison, Ryan Murphy.