Mens thirds just fail to hold on in Antrim
North Down thirds travelled to the Antrim Forum for their Junior League 3 fixture against Antrim seconds.
Both teams started with great intensity. North Down edged the possession but could not find a break through with good play evident from all. Allen Irwin and Colin Mockford at the back provided good experience for the younger lads on the team. A counter attack from Antrim allowed the home team to take the lead on 10 minutes but North Down wouldn’t settle for that and quickly responded with an equalising goal from captain Sam Pyper 11 minutes later. Christopher Drysdale and Sam Brown linked up well together and Jonny Green stepped up to the plate and made very good runs to create space in the opposing circle. Despite all this good play, North Down conceded another with 8 minutes left on the clock to go 2-1 down at half time
A stern half time team talk led to a good response. North Down began to create more chances with wing backs overlapping to create dangerous situations. Shea Kelly was a threat as he bombed forward at right back. A surging push from midfield again set up the skipper to level the scores just after the restart. More positive hockey followed from the North Down boys and a good run from right back from the impressive Shea Kelly fed the ball to Sam Pyper who set up Sam Brown. Brown calmly slotted past the helpless keeper to put the visitors ahead for the first time on 47 minutes.
North Down defended venomously taking no chances. A string of successive short corners were successfully defended to maintain the lead. A breakaway goal from Steven Barr set up a nervy finish after it was fairly ruled out. With less than one minute left on the clock, Antrim broke through into the circle and set up an unmarked striker to bang the ball into the net. The scores were level yet again at 3-3 and there was barely time left to restart before the final whistle blew for a disappointing end to a good game of hockey.
PMB man of the match: Shea Kelly.
Report from Sam Brown.