North Down entertained Kilkeel on Wednesday evening in the semi-final of the Anderson Cup.In a thrilling encounter North Down lost out on a penalty shoot out after the teams had drawn 4-4 in ordinary time and had failed to score in extra time.In the shoot out both teams scorerd all five penalties but in the sudden death shootout David Sheppards effort was saved and Kilkeel went through to play Harlequins in the final.
Kilkeel started at a fast pace and put North Down under early pressure but the defence held firm.The tactic of trying to slow the pace of the game down began to work and North Down began to fight back.It was Kilkeel who scored first after 15 minutes but shortly afterwards North Down equalised when a Sheppard corner struck a defender on the line and he converted the resulting penalty.A great run by Black left the Kilkeel defence in his wake.He passed to Wilson who calmly put the home side in front.McKeown was causing the Kilkeel defence all sorts of problems and on several occasions they managed to clear dangerous situations.
Gilmore had a chance to increase the lead but his effort was cleared of the line,Kilkeel equalised just before halftime.
Play swung from end to end in the second period with both sides winning corners which were cleared.The Kilkeel winger made ground on the left and when everyone was looking for a cross he scored with a strong shot.Mckeown equalised for the home side when he got the vital touch in front of goal.With about 10 minutes remaining Kilkeel took the lead.A cross from the right was deflected past McArther by a home defender but a Kilkeel player also got a touch.With about 4 minutes remaining North Down equalised with a similar goal.McKeown got a touch in the circle but it was a defender who put the ball past his own keeper.
Extra time failed to bring any further score and so to penalties.Sheppard,McKeown.,McGimpsey ,Ross and Mark Linter scored for North Down but the unfortunate Sheppard saw his effort saved in the sudden death shoot out.
An excellent game enjoyed by a large crowd and one which many felt North Down should have won in ordinary time.
Best wishes for a speed recovery to the Kilkeel defender who sustained a head injury in the incident which led to the first goal.