North Down got onto winning ways when they defeated Harlequins 3-2 in a Kirk Cup fixture at Comber last Saturday. This was a hard fought game with both sides creating opportunities but in the end North Down ran out worthy winners.
Harlequins opened strongly and the North Down defence had a number of narrow escapes when unmarked forwards squandered good scoring chances. Harlequins took the lead midway through the half when a penalty corner strike from Patterson was deflected past Rodgers in goal by one of his own defenders. North Down were playing some good open hockey but were unable to break down the Harlequins defence.
The second half was full of incident with North Down taking control right from the whistle. A Gareth McKeown shot was illegally blocked on the line by a defender and from the resultant flick McKeown gave the keeper no chance. Within 5 minutes North Down took the lead. McKeown was played in and as he rounded the last defender was upended for a penalty to be awarded. McKeown again stepped up and put North Down ahead with a similar effort. Harlequins, feeling they were hard done by, lost their discipline and play became scrappy with players from both sides spending time in the sin bin.
Following good build up play the ball broke to Jack Bond in the Harlequins circle and he was unlucky to see his first time shot go over the bar. North Down then increased their lead to 3-1 when Johnny Moore gave a good pass to Josh Gilmore and the big striker converted with a fierce reverse shot. Both sides won corners but it was North Down who came closest when Andrew McKibbin saw his effort rebound off the crossbar. Harlequins did pull a goal back through McKenna with 5 minutes remaining but it was a case of too little too late and North Down played out time to secure their first win of the season.
PMB Man of the Match: Andrew McKibbin
Report from Robin Mitchell