North Down ladies seconds travelled to Belfast Harlequins fourths last Saturday for a first round cup match. Having played this team in the league already when Harlequins stole a point with a last minute equaliser, the Comber girls were out to prove a point.
Both teams started out the game evenly matched with both teams finding play difficult with an outburst of torrential rain. Harlequins were first to take advantage with quick counterattacks which sometimes caught North Down out but Linda Marshall, advancing from her goals when needed, kept the Comber girls in the game. North Down were soon back in it with great work up the left side of the pitch between Britney Hogan and Olivia Brown, their speed proving to much for the opposition at times. They speed and skill won them a short corner and a great strike from Jenna Hoey at the top found Laura Campbell at the post for an easy tap in goal. This was the only goal of the half and North Down went into the break with this slim one goal advantage.
The pattern of play continued in the second half with Harlequins creating plenty of opportunities but the defensive team of Rebecca Walker, Karen Moore, Karen Jackson and Rebecca Brown kept them at bay. A forceful run by Laura Campbell led to a simple ball into the circle which resulted in Olivia Brown getting on the score sheet with a great goal calmly slotted past the keeper. North Down kept the pressure up and after great play by Marion Miller, working tirelessly at centre forward, a deft pass into the circle found Olivia Brown who once again was on hand to put the ball pass the Quins keeper. This gave some of breathing space to the visitors however it resulted in a lapse of concentration when a mix up in the circle resulted in Harlequins pulling a goal back to get into the game making it 3-1.
This was a wakeup call to North Down that the game was far from over and, with plenty of pressure up front, all Jenna Hoey’s hard work paid off when she finally got a goal herself with a strike that went through several Harlequins players but proved too powerful to stop. Moments later, to North Down’s relief, the final whistle brought the game to an end and the visitors were through to the next round of the cup. North Down showed great team work and finally took advantage of the goal opportunities which came their way and hopefully this positive play will be taken into their next league match where three points will be needed.
Player of the Match: Laura Campbell