By Robin Mitchell
North Down entertained South Antrim at Comber Leisure Centre last Saturday with both teams battling for a playoff place to gain promotion to the Premier League. South Antrim started with the advantage of having games in hand but North Down knew they must secure a victory to keep in touch.
Still without the injured Paul Adgey and Andrew McKibbin North Down were further weakened with the withdrawal of Richard Cooper however this loss was offset with the addition of Paul Ritchie who was home on holiday from University.
South Antrim started very much defensively. They allowed North Down plenty of space and relied on the quick break to pressurise the home defence. As a result, North Down put pressure on the circle and it came as no surprise when they took the lead. The ball was played in from the left and Rowan Poots was the first to react to calmly slot past the South keeper.
At the other end the North Down goal had a number of close escapes when the speedy left winger made ground and squared across a gaping goal but none of his fellow attackers were on hand to finish off his good work. Although dominating possession North Down struggled to add to their lead.
The second half saw North Down up the pace and they created several chances. Tom Donnan saw two efforts blaze over the bar then David Shepherd had a double effort at a corner well blocked by the keeper before Simon Watt had a shot saved and another go agonisingly wide. In between this action North Down were awarded a penalty which Keith Conway expertly converted. Finally, North Down made absolutely sure of the points when Poots scored his second from a short corner.
The recent form of Rowan Poots has been a major boost to the Comber team. Having discovered his scoring touch his confidence is growing and he is becoming a real threat to opposing defences. Coach Whyte reshuffled the defence before the game and it seemed to work as they provided the platform for a solid performance.