North Down entertained Queens last Saturday in the league. Confusion about Chris Speers’ availability resulted in the home team having only 13 players and after Andy McGimpsey suffered a hamstring injury early in the game coach Peter Whyte had to manage his squad very carefully in the hot sunshine. Early in the second period the situation worsened when Phil Wilson injured a toe.
The game was played at a fast pace throughout with both sides trying to play attractive hockey. Queens moved the ball about quickly creating problems for the reshaped home defence and after 10 minutes they won a short corner which entered the net past McBride’s left hand. North Down began to get more control of the ball and equalised after 25 minutes. Adgey drove the ball into the circle and Stevie Dalzell got the right side of his marker and managed to deflect the ball past the keeper. Just before halftime North Down went into the lead following the best move of the game. Skipper Bailie won the ball in midfield and played a great through ball to Andy Forrest who found himself in the clear. He drew the advancing keeper and slipped the ball to unmarked brother Mark who made no mistake from 5 yards.
The second period saw Queens enjoy more of the ball and with the North Down players tiring in the sunshine it was not a surprise when they equalised again from a short corner. The delivery was not good but the ball broke to the right of the circle where the winger hammered the ball into the net at the far post past Jordan Linter. North Down were now hanging on but to their credit they fought like tigers to regain the lead. It came with 10 minutes remaining when they were awarded a short corner but with all of the corner routine team either injured or off the pitch Keith Conway stepped up to hammer the ball home at the near post. North Down were not finished and were unlucky not to increase their lead when from a corner the ball broke to Bailie and he smashed the ball into the net. However, for the third week in a row his goal was disallowed for dangerous play.
North Down played out time for a very welcome win and hard earned 3 points.