The mens’ thirds defeated Portadown 2-1 at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday in a clash of two evenly matched sides. The teams were level on points before Saturday’s encounter and for the first half of the match, parity remained. The game was not without incident however, Portadown started brightly with lots of possession, however the home defence stood strong with Colin Mockford and Stuart Nicholson mopping up all loose passes. Towards halftime the home side gained momentum and could have had the lead. Mark Shannon was played through only to be denied by a great stick save. Just before halftime Andy Boyd launched an overlapping attack down the right and the cross was deflected just out of the reach of Scott Moore at the back post.
In the second half the home side started brightly and the midfield of Revill, Walls and Jenkins started the half well, and eventually were rewarded. The first goal was a scrappy one but the thirds won’t have minded. Mark Shannon found his brother Andrew who under pressure forced a scrambled save from the keeper but Sam Pyper gladly tucked the loose ball home to give the thirds the lead. The game proceeded in an end to end style with the home side defending well until Kai Jenkins unlocked the visitors defence with a pinpoint through ball for Scott Moore who ran in unopposed from the halfway line and perfectly slotted the ball in for the second goal. At this point, with Portadown throwing men forward, North Down fell deeper back in their own half and had to sustain heavy pressure for the last 15 minutes. The midfield trio acted as an excellent buffer and anything that got through was met well by Nicholson. The visitors’ pressure eventually led to a goal when the winger finished smartly from a tight angle. The last five minutes featured more pressure from the Ports but it amounted to nothing, particularly thanks to a last ditch tackle from Robin McMullan and then, with the last play of the game, a smart stop from Lee Brown at a short corner.
This was a very valuable 3 points for the 3rds against a good Portadown side and they will hope this continues when they visit Cliftonville seconds this Saturday.