North Down opened their Group A Linden Cup campaign with a convincing 10 goal victory over a depleted PSNI at Stormont last Saturday.
PSNI were confined to their own 25 for long periods and defended with gusto throughout and only in the last 15 minutes as they tired were North Down able to turn their superiority into goals.
Philip Wilson opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a fine goal. Then shortly afterwards Gareth Bailie increased the lead from close in. North Down had several chances to add to their lead further but either took the wrong option or weak finishing allowed PSNI to hold out. Just before half time Rowan Poots scored from close in but it was a lacklustre first half from the Comber boys.
A stern team talk from new coach Aaron Mills at half time ensured that North Down upped the pace in the second period. PSNI did win a number of corners but Gareth McBride was never troubled in goal and as the clock ticked away North Down began to score at will. Bailie, Poots and Wilson notched their second goals each and two further goals from Kai Jenkins, making his senior debut, Melvin Nichols and Adam Tate completed the scoring as the weakened PSNI team struggled in the sultry conditions.
This was an encouraging start to the new season but many more difficult hurdles lie ahead, in particular, Raphoe, also in Group A, had a convincing 4 – 0 away win at Bangor and it’s likely that the game against the Donegal rivals will decide who progresses in this competition.