A strong second half comeback saw Newpark A bag three points, but football took a back seat as far as visitors Lions were concerned.
The Durrow side were incensed when one if their players was struck off the ball eight minutes from time. The incident, which escaped punishment as it occurred on the referee’s blind side, left the injured party with concussion.
It was a sour end to a game which, up to the 82nd minute, had been played in good spirits. The Lions came looking for their first points of the season and stunned the hosts when they took the lead inside 10 minutes, Darren Lynch stepping up to a free-kick and giving ’keeper Darren Rowe with a peach of a strike that flew into the bottom left corner of the net.
The Lions looked good for that goal, their early play sparkling thanks to confident goalkeeping from young John Finnegan, midfielder Ben Wallace and defender Cormac McCann.
The strike, however, stirred Newpark into action. Playing with five across midfield they pressed for openings. Henry O’Neill had a 15th minute header pushed to safety by Finnegan, who also had to look lively to finger-tip a curling John Hayes corner over his bar.
Just when it looked like the Lions would hold on until half-time, Newpark found a way through. The goal was worth waiting for, Michael Comerford driving from midfield to deliver a scissors-kick finish to Sean Falsey’s perfect cross.
Newpark made three changes at half-time to try and turn the game their way, buts it was the Lions who threatened first. Darren Lynch got the last touch on a sweeping team move but couldn’t beat Darren Rowe, while Ben Wallace was also denied by two fine stops from the ‘keeper.
The missed chances proved costly, as Newpark went in front with 13 minutes left after a Henry O’Neill shot struck a Lions arm in the box. O’Neill seized the spot kick, sending Finnegan the wrong way from 12 yards.
The game dipped after that late incident, which arose after the Lions appealed for a penalty of their own. Once play resumed Newpark wrapped up the win against the deflated visitors, O’Neill tapped home after Paul O’Brien’s shot had been saved.
Newpark: Rowe, H. O’Neill, Falsey, Wall, Meagher, Dumecz (Donovan, 46 mins), T. Comerford (S. O’Neill, 46 mins), Woods, Delaney (O’Brien, 46 mins), Hayes, M. Comerford.
Lions A: Finnegan, Randall (Webster, 70 mins), McCann (Walsh, 83 mins), K. Freeman, McCann, M. Freeman, Wallace, Lennon, Thomas, Muldowney (Vaughan, 46 mins), Lynch.
Referee: O. Falsey.