With the league season now having passed the half way point North Down welcomed Randalstown to Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday. On their return to the Premier League back in September the Comber girls fought hard to take a valuable point from Randalstown after a 1-1 draw at the Antrim Forum and knew they would have to put in another big performance to get anything from this game.
Randalstown started the game strongly and had North Down pinned back in their own half for long periods. As early as the second minute the visitors cut through the North Down defence however the forward’s effort struck the post. Randalstown then won their first corner of the game and Trish Neill had to be at her best to make a stick save at full stretch, diverting the ball away just as a ‘Town player was ready to deflect it into the net. The Comber girls began to find their feet a little bit more and won a corner themselves however Katharine Hill’s effort was saved and sent looping over the crossbar. Despite the visitors dominance North Down managed to make it to half time unscathed at 0-0.
Just 5 minutes into the second half Randalstown broke the deadlock from a short corner. The ball was sent back to the injector and she slapped it home at the left post. The away side continued to push to increase their lead however while they had extended periods of pressure no clear cut chances were created. North Down had some good spells of their own and after progressing up the pitch the Comber girls won a free at the dash line in the middle of the pitch. Katharine Hill saw the 1 v 1 opportunity against her opposite number and she ghosted past her bringing the ball into the circle before slamming it past a hapless ‘Town keeper. The visitors must have felt a sense of déjà vu and not wanting to drop another two more points to this North Down side after dominating for long spells they won a series of short corners. However they continued to try the same variation back to the injector, which had been successful earlier in the game, but North Down were now alive to the danger. With the last play of the game North Down nearly stole all 3 points, a quick counter from deep within their own half saw Laura McCaw race towards the Randalstown circle, she shot early however a defender was able to come across and deflect the ball high and wide and the final whistle was blown before there was time to take the long corner. North Down now travel to Deramore on Saturday hoping to give a better account of themselves than they did in their home fixture against Harlequins earlier in the season.
Report by Laura Clarke.