A much changed North Down men’s third eleven travelled to Cookstown thirds for their final league cup group game. Knowing they were already unable to qualify after earlier defeats, the aim was to get a win and set the team up nicely for the start of the league campaign.
Cookstown started well piling the pressure on the Comber men. Excellent defending and clearing by the centre back pairing of Paul Revill and stand in skipper Paul Beaney kept the hosts at bay. Soon though Cookstown broke and scored after North Down pushed forward.
North Down were under pressure and needed relief and soon a short corner was won. The ball was slipped out to John Clarke and laid off to Sam Brown who slotted neatly home to even the scores. Cookstown however didn’t settle back and scored a second and just before half time a good ball from Revill set up an attack where John Clarke beat four players before allowing Andrew Linter to pull it all level again to make it 2-2 at the break.
After half time the Cookstown boys came out much stronger but after soaking up a little pressure early on, North Down grew into the game. Christopher Drysdale and Shea Kelly both excelled in defence with Paddy Wright and Chris Murray proving to be excellent additions to the squad. Cookstown had a let off when a good ball by Paddy Wright and driving run by Chris Murray set up Sam Brown who scored on his reverse only for it to be ruled out by the Cookstown umpire who saw it from the other end of the pitch.
As both teams pushed for a winner the deciding goal however fell to Cookstown who stole the points with 10 minutes to go! This was a solid performance from North Down but in the end a disappointing result after so much commitment from the team.
PMB Man of the Match: Paul Revill
Report from Sam Brown