By R Mitchell
North Down travelled to Campbell College last Saturday knowing that they had to win their remaining 5 games in order to secure a play off place for promotion to the Premier League. However, a disappointing performance saw them drop 2 points following a 1-1 draw and now they must depend on other results going their way if they are to fulfil their aim for the season.
Their performance lacked purpose and desire and it was Campbellians who were up for the game and had they taken their chances could have added further embarrassment to the visitors but Gareth McBride in goal had an outstanding game and was the main reason why they held on for a draw.
North Down however got off to a great start. Against the run of play the ball broke down the right wing and when it was smashed into the circle the alert Gareth Bailie deflected the ball home. A neutral would have assumed that this would settle North Down and they would go on and win comfortably but this was not the case. The defence, missing Paul Adgey and Andrew McKibbin looked shaky and too often gave the ball away or got caught in possession.
Early in the second period Campbellians got the deserved equaliser. The left winger found himself in acres of space and with the defence out of position he drew McBride and slipped to the centre forward for a simple tap in. As North Down pushed forward McBride was called on again to make fine blocks as Campbellians broke quickly. It was only in the last 10 minutes that North Down put any real pressure on the home circle as they won four corners and from one of these Rowan Poots was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the post. David Shepherd had a great chance when the ball broke to him at the top of the circle but his shot was off target and then from a corner variation the ball unluckily came off Richard Willis’ foot before entering the net.
A much improved performance will be required this Saturday for the visit of South Antrim. Adgey and McKibbin will still be out with injuries but hopefully Ross Linter and Richard Cooper will both be available again for selection.