North Down ladies thirds travelled to Jordanstown last Friday night to play their first fixture against Ulster Elks thirds. An eclectic mix of youth and experience took to the field to face the young well drilled Elks side.
In the first few minutes, Elks threatened the North Down defence, but sweeper Rachel Cairns kept things tight at the back to the frustration of the Elks forwards. North Down then took possession and with some well worked passes the Comber team realised they were contenders in this game. Just before the half time break North Down were awarded a short corner. A strong pass out from Julie Fisher to the top of the circle met Heidi Mitchell who directed a smashing ball into the corner of Elks’ goal.
Following a period of end to end play, Elks won a couple of penalty corners which they were unable to convert due to North Down’s strong defence, keeper Helena Press having an outstanding game. The game continued with the North Down midfield and frontline working hard with Kathy Taylor and Megan Spence working tirelessly in the midfield to keep the home team on their toes.
In the second half the Elks stepped it up a gear with the edge when creating chances and Amy Alexander proved herself at left back thwarting her opponent’s efforts. During an Elks offensive move, Lynsey Stevenson was back to help the defence, which led to a break from Stevenson up the right hand side. A seamless pass to Brittany Hogan saw a 2 on 1 with the Elks keeper. After drawing the keeper in, Hogan slipped the ball to Mitchell for a simple tap in.
Nine minutes from the end an Elks attack invited a save from Press which just clipped the post and crossed the line to make it 1-2. North Down held their nerve for the remaining time and ended the game victors for a massive 3 points.
PMB Player of the Match: Helena Press
Report by Karen Jackson