North Down thirds went into the fixture against Antrim seconds at Comber Leisure Centre last Saturday aiming to improve from the previous week’s narrow defeat against Instonians.
North Down started the game well immediately putting pressure on the experienced Antrim back line. The game was fast paced and North Down had a few chances to take the lead early on with Sam Pyper shooting wide before Stuart Nicholson almost put the home team ahead. Nicholson, playing in a new centre forward role, was able to hold the ball up well and bring the wingers into the game with Jonny Green, making his 3s debut, impressing on the right wing. Despite good play from the home team, it was Antrim who took the lead following a defensive mistake. North Down however continued to pile the pressure on and went into to half time feeling confident at turning the game around.
After half time, all guns were blazing as the Comber men aimed to get back into the game. Chris Drysdale linked up well with Shea Kelly on the right hand side. Kelly then was able to set up James Millar Hogg who pulled one back for North Down but the home team wanted more than a draw. Good control at the back from Paul Revill and Paul Beaney enabled both Mark Simpson and Ben Long at left and right back to push forward and a surging run from Long created space for captain Pyper to put North Down 2-1 in front.
Antrim wouldn’t go down without a fight and leveled the scores to 2-2 with 5 minutes to go. Roger Graham in nets could do nothing to stop their well-worked short corner. The game wasn’t over yet and after a swift counter attack from the left back position, Sam Brown played a ball through to Millar-Hogg who passed to Kelly who calmly slotted past the keeper to take all three points. For the final two minutes North Down put all men behind the ball to see out a well-deserved win and secure a vital three points.>
PMB Man of the Match: Sam Pyper
Report from Sam Brown