North Down entertained Portadown in their first Premier League game of the season at Regent House on Tuesday last. The game having been brought forward to accommodate those attending Gareth Bailie’s wedding.
North Down played their best hockey of the season so far showing total commitment but unfortunately silly mistakes allowed Portadown to walk away with 3 points. Playing with high intensity from the start North Down settled into the game and were unfortunate to go behind after 15 minutes. A harmless ball drifted onto the left wing. What appeared to be a lost cause was chased down by the winger and he threw himself at the ball attempting a cross. To everyone’s horror the ball entered the net at the near post past a bemused McBride. Portadown went 2 up when the right back was allowed to make a lot of ground and cross into the circle where the ball was deflected past McBride.
North Down piled on the pressure in an effort to reduce the arrears and were rewarded when Dalzell scored from a well rehearsed short corner. Minutes after they were level when Bailie finished off from close in. Portadown were glad to hear the halftime whistle as North Down were in command.
The second half was only minutes old when Portadown went back into the lead. The left winger was allowed to waltz into the circle and score with a weak shot from the edge of the circle. They increased their lead from a short corner which seemed to enter the middle of the goal and should have been cleared. North Down pushed hard and Bailie was unlucky when his reverse shot was brilliantly saved by Knipe. Then Donnan saw his effort flash just wide. They won a couple of corners but the routine was not good and the Portadown goal did not come under any pressure.
If they can continue with this intensity and cut out the silly defensive mistakes their first win should not be far off.