North Down travelled to Cookstown on Saturday in a confident mood following the previous weeks positive result but found the home side a much more difficult challenge and without Phil Wilson, Chris Speers and skipper Ross Linter were no match for the side just relegated from the IHL.
Cookstown pressed from the start and only some fine goalkeeping from Andy Coates, particularly at short corners, allowed the visitors to keep their goal intact. They broke the deadlock after 10 minutes when Coates was eventually beaten at yet another short corner. Five minutes later a poor clearance allowed them to score a second. North Down slowly got into the game and Josh Gilmore had an effort saved before David Shepherd saw his corner effort hit the post. The home keeper then made a fine save from Gareth McKeown again from a corner.
Cookstown got the killer goal early in the second period. They grew in confidence and North Down struggled to get any control of the game. The home team then added a fourth 15 minutes into the half again from a corner before Gilmore had a chance to reduce the arrears but his effort was wide. Cookstown had a let off when McKeown gathered a long ball and shot tamely with the goal at his mercy. North Down were running out of steam and Cookstown ran in a further four goals in the last ten minutes to leave the scoreline a somewhat flattering 8-0.
PMB Man of the Match: Gareth McKeown
Report by Robbin Mitchell