WINGER Stephen Curry produced a man of the match display to help Newbuildings United easily defeat ten men Strabane Athletic 4-1, in the Intermediate League Cup Final, on Saturday.
Played in near perfect conditions in front of a large crowd, Curry opened the scoring and also played a major part in Nathan Robinson’s crucial third goal, however it was his consistent threat throughout the 90 minutes which helped the Waterside men.
In fairness to Strabane for long periods in the first half they had a lot of the ball, but they were unable to turn that possession into anything threatening with United keeper Ryan McCloskey rarely tested.
The deadlock was broken on five minutes when ex-Linfield man John Paul Gallagher lost possession just outside his own box to Robinson, who cleverly played in Stephen Curry, who rounded Athletic keeper James O’Reilly, before side footing home into the empty net.
Minutes later Athletic had a good chance to level things but Michael Logue’s header from Gerard Donaghey’s corner was saved by McCloskey.
A goalkeeping error by McCloskey on 25 minutes resulted in Athletic equalising when his poor punch only fell perfectly to Jason McGrinder inside the six yard box and the ex-Institute striker made no mistake firing home.
Right on the stroke of half-time Gary Simpson’s side regained the lead in super fashion when Stephen Wallace was upended on the edge of the left hand side of the box; the midfielder dusted himself down, before perfectly curling the ball past a flat-footed O’Reilly, into the keeper’s bottom left hand corner.
Just after the hour mark United netted their all important third goal thanks to another super run by Curry.
The winger skipped away from a few challenges down the left before cutting the ball back for Robinson and he gleefully made no mistake side footing home from six yards.
Soon after O’Reilly came to his side’s rescue when this time substitute Trevor McSparron, who replaced David Scanlon at half-time, saw his goal bound effort kept out.
Ten minutes from time Athletic were rightfully reduced to ten men when Michael Logue saw red.
Stephen Curry again showed some sublime skill to get away from a few challenges before racing clear on goal, but his run came to an end when he was pulled down by the defender, leaving referee Ivan South with no option but to send him off.
On 84 minutes United’s Wesley Ferguson went close but his well hit drive from just outside the box, was superbly tipped around the post by a full stretched O’Reilly.
Then in stoppage time substitute Wayne Glenn, who replaced Garth Falconer, made no mistake, sliding the ball home from close range.
Newbuildings United: Ryan McCloskey, Peter Blair, Graham Moore, Dean Curry, Kenneth King; Stephen Wallace, David Scanlon, Wesley Ferguson; Stephen Curry, Nathan Robinson, Garth Falconer. Subs: Trevor McSparron for Scanlon (H-T); Wayne Glenn for Falconer (66); Gregory McIvor for Wallace (82); Jason Moore & Grant Buchanan (not used).
Strabane Athletic: James O’Reilly, Lee Conwell, Gary Lafferty, John Paul Gallagher, Gerard Logue, Michael Logue, Kieran Kelly, Brian Patterson, Jason McGrinder, Sean Ferry, Gerard Donaghey. Subs: Aodhan Doherty for Lafferty (H-T); Adam Coyle for Kelly (59); Aaron Patterson for Boyle (72); Jim Harley & Jim Ferguson (not used).
Referee: Mr Ivan South.
Cautioned: Lafferty (30); Ferguson (33); Ferry (58); S Curry (67); Glenn (74).
Sent-off: M Logue (80).