Antrim 4-10 North Down
North Down travelled to the Antrim forum for a league fixture against Antrim on Saturday. For 45 minutes Antrim made life difficult for north down with their strong running and in fact held a 3-2 lead which was well deserved early in the second period. It took a tactical switch to see North Down move into top gear and a devastating 20 minute spell saw Antrim demoralized and North Down run out comfortable winners.
North down took an early lead when Gareth Bailie finished from close range. Antrim equalised from a short corner and then took the lead when they were awarded a penalty after a short corner effort struck a defender on the foot. North Down were glad to hear the halftime whistle as it gave coaches Mills and Rodgers the opportunity to reorganise.
Almost immediately North Down equalised when Rowan Poots scored from a corner. Antrim showed that they could not be taken for granted when they again went ahead from another corner and North Down realised they had a fight on their hands. As they upped the tempo Antrim began to tire and could not cope with the incessant North Down pressure. They began to lose their discipline and had 3 players shown green card.
In a 20 minute spell North Down played some of their best hockey of the season scoring 8 goals, 2 from corners and the remaining from open play. Scorers were Poots 3, McKeown 2, Donnan, Shepherd and Jenkins. In between, Antrim reduced the arrears when they caught North Down on the break.
With Portadown defeating Campbellians, North Down can finish no higher than third but in order to do that must get results against fellow challengers Raphoe and champions South Antrim. As yet no dates have been allocated for these fixtures.
Report by Robin Mitchell