North Down without five regulars entertained Harlequins at Comber Leisure Centre in the Premier League last Saturday. Having lost two previous encounters with Harlequins this season already coach Aaron Mills will take much satisfaction from this performance and the 3-3 scoreline.
Harlequins got the perfect start when after 3 minutes they attacked down the right and a hard cross found the centre forward unmarked in the circle and he had no difficulty in beating the helpless Alastair McArthur. Play swung from end to end as both teams strove to get control and North Down got the break they deserved when Wilson scored at the second attempt from close range to make it 1-1. In the cold conditions much of the play was confined to midfield and there was no further scoring in the first half.
The second half had much more goal mouth action and both keepers made some fine saves to keep their teams in the game and in particular, Ally McArthur in his first game for some time looked sharp and assured. David Shepherd played a superb overhead pass which found Dalzell who crossed for McMillan but his effort was saved. On the break, Harlequins responded and outpaced the home defence to regain the lead. North Down fought hard to find the equaliser and were rewarded from a short corner which Shepherd dispatched into the net. Tom Donnan then had a fine shot from the top of the circle well saved and then McArthur had to make a sharp double save. With 8 minutes remaining Harlequins looked to have made the decisive move when they regained the lead. They were awarded a short corner and although the delivery was poor the ball broke to one of their players at the top of the circle. McArthur got a stick to his strong shot but the ball deflected high into the net. North Down piled on the pressure as they fought for the equaliser and were rewarded with 3 minutes remaining. The ball broke to Richard McMillan 6 yards out and he dispatched the ball into the net to gain his side a well deserved point, the first of the season!
Report by Robben Mutchell