North Down who were heavily defeated in their first Premier League game last week at Queens were hoping for a much improved performance when they entertained Bangor at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday. However they left disappointed after being defeated by the odd goal in five having controlled the game for long periods and deserving some reward for their performance.
The first half was an evenly contested affair with both teams playing attractive hockey. North Down thought they had taken the lead after 5 minutes when Scott Moore deflected the ball into the net but the umpire was of the opinion that there had been no contact and the goal was disallowed. Lack of concentration allowed Bangor in for the opener after 10 minutes. The ball was given away cheaply in midfield and the Bangor forward was allowed to run in and score. North Down pushed hard for the equaliser and were rewarded midway through the half. Michael Orr made a strong run on the right and crossed for Stevie Dalzell to score at the back post. Josh Gilmore had a great chance to put the home side ahead when he collected a good pass at the top of the circle but a Bangor defender got back well to block his shot.
The second half saw North Down step up the pace but the Bangor defence held firm as they cleverly broke down play without any punishment from the umpire. Bangor scored against the run of play when the home defence failed to clear. North Down won a number of corners but these were cleared. A cross from the left was narrowly missed by Gareth McKeown in front of goal but with 15 minutes remaining, Jonny Linter received a nasty head injury which required hospital attention. The umpires failed to deal immediately with the situation allowing players from both sides to express their dissatisfaction about the tackle and create a tense atmosphere which lasted for the rest of the game. Two players from North Down and one from Bangor received yellow cards for being over eager with their protestations.
Bangor took advantage of their extra man and scored their third goal. The ball was worked along the byline and a forward nipped in to deflect past Darren Rodgers. When restored to a full complement, North Down drove forward and were awarded a penalty stroke when Gilmore was brought down by keeper Seay. Gilmore duly converted but there was insufficient time remaining for them to press for the equaliser which their earlier play deserved.
Man of the Match: Jonny Moore