North Down travelled last Saturday to play Campbellians in a league fixture hoping to continue their recent improved form and in a hard fought game they came out winners by the narrowest of margins. It was a clichéd game of two halves with North Down dominating play in the first period and Campbellians on top in the second.
Although North Down had most of the possession they struggled to break down the Campbellians defence and when they did they found Darren Rogers in fine form in goal. North Down won early corners but their usual slick set piece routine was not working except when Rowan Poots saw one fine effort well saved by Rogers at the right post. Hero Rogers however became villain when he presented North Down with their first goal. A harmless overhead ball was played by into the circle by Andy McGimpsey. The central defender failed to cut it out and Rogers left the ball only to see it hit the post and rebound to Gareth Bailie for the simplest of tap ins.
The second half saw Campbellians put pressure on the North Down circle and McBride and his defenders had to be on their toes to keep their eager forwards out. McBride made fine saves and Mark Linter deflected a corner effort over the bar. North Down were dangerous on the break and had chances to increase their lead but that man Rogers kept his side in the game. North Down had a strong shout for a penalty when Stevie Dalzell was fouled as he was about to shoot but the umpire awarded a corner. Michael Orr then found himself in on goal but his double effort was well saved. With 8 minutes remaining, Campbellians finally got an equaliser from a well worked corner. The visitors replied with a number of penalty corners but McGimpsey’s delivery was not accurate enough and the danger was cleared. However with 3 minutes remaining he made amends providing the pass that allowed Tom Donnan to regain the lead for the visitors with a decisive goal.
Coach Aaron Mills was pleased with the performance but quite relieved to hear the final whistle.
Report by Robin Mitchell.