North Down thirds travelled to Ballymena to face Antrim seconds on Saturday in the League Cup with a much changed line up from the previous week.
An away trip to Antrim seconds was always going to be a difficult fixture and the thirds free flowing hockey of the last few weeks was hampered by an overly sanded pitch. After going behind to an early Antrim goal the thirds settled well and soon great overlaps down the right by Andy Shannon and Shea Kelly were causing problems. North Down were back level on 21 minutes when Andy Walls finished well from a loose ball and Sam Pyper put his team in front three minutes later when Shannon hit the byline and put it on a plate for the captain’s streak to continue to make it 2-1 at half time.
The second half became scrappier, tempers flared but the sin bins were not called into action. North Down gradually took control and went 3-1 up when Shannon finished perfectly into the corner but Antrim responded with a deflected finish when Kelly was caught napping. A North Down reply was immediate when they made it 4-2 from a well worked short corner that eventually was scrambled over the line by Michael Orr with an over the head finish from all of two inches! It was a good time to score but Antrim were not done yet and managed to pull back a contentious third. However, time was against the home side and it was never a game that the visitors were in danger of losing. The thirds now go into their final group game away to Portadown thirds in a strong position in the table.
PMB Man of the Match: Shea Kelly
Report from Sam Pyper