The third eleven made the short trip to Grosvenor High School to face Annadale fourths last Saturday. This was the first time either side had played on the Grosvenor pitches and they produced a memorable game.
North Down started very brightly with Ben Willis and Andy Walls both coming close early on. Willis with a neat deflection into the side netting and Walls flicked cleverly over the keeper after a feed from Pyper but it went narrowly wide. The home side soon found their feet and, after keeping North Down penned in their own end for several minutes, they broke through when their right winger finished smartly, roofing from a tight angle. For the remainder of the half the play was very much end to end, Sam Pyper forced a great save with a rasping drive off a bouncing ball but the visitors trailed 1-0 at the interval.
The second half started much the same as the first with Annadale having more of the ball but North Down creating more chances. Indeed the thirds got their reward when, after good work from Scott Moore and Andrew Boyd down the left, Andrew Shannon pulled the ball back for Sam Pyper to crash in the equaliser. A few minutes later it was 2-1 to the visitors. Paul Revill worked hard to create an opportunity and after a one two with Pyper he fired home. However in what was a very even game Annadale turned up a gear and produced 3 goals in 10 minutes to lead 4-2. At this stage the game looked over but it turned late on. An important combination of Lee Brown and Stuart Nicholson kept North Down in it at an Annadale short corner and they then took advantage. With 5 minutes remaining a flowing move through six North Down players lead to Ben Willis receiving a pass at the top of the opposition circle. He found Andy Shannon who flicked a neat one two with Pyper and found Revill to poke in. Then in the final 90 seconds the visitors’ pressure led to a short corner from which Walls found Jamie Kitchen who slammed home the equaliser.
This was a very good point for the thirds after a tight, competitive, even game in which they showed great togetherness and spirit to fight back to earn a draw.