North Down entertained high flying Portadown on Saturday at Comber Leisure Centre. Portadown have already qualified for the Kirk Cup semi-finals so North Down knew they would be in for a hard game.
Portadown opened at a furious pace and penned North Down deep in their 25 however the home defence held firm and they survived the early siege. Soon they started to get control and put the Portadown defence under some pressure. A number of corners for both teams went unrewarded. Then midway through the half North Down got the breakthrough. They opened up the Portadown defence and Gareth McKeown’s shot was saved but the ball broke to Jack Bond who calmly shot past Jamie Knipe in goals with the help of a deflection off a defender’s stick.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Portadown pressed but the solid North Down defence held firm. Again, both sides won short corners but neither was able to get the break through. Portadown lost some of their discipline as they were frustrated by the home defence with both Gilmore and Taylor sinbinned, Taylor for a particularly rash tackle on Melvyn Nicholls. North Down then went further ahead when Mark Linter played a long ball upfield which was picked up by Bond. He played a delicate pass to Jamie Orr who crossed perfectly for Nicholls to calmly shoot past Knipe. The final 15 minutes was played out with neither goal coming under any real pressure.
This was an excellent victory for North Down and they can now look forward to entertaining Newry on Saturday. Work commitments mean that Melvyn Nicholls will not be available until after Xmas and we wish him well on his exploits in Spain.
PMB Man of the Match: Melvyn Nicholls
Report by Robin Mitchell