North Down entertained Antrim in the Premier League at Comber Leisure Centre last Saturday. After the disappointing defeat at Mossley the home side was hoping to get back to winning ways. North Down lost Tom Donnan before the start with a recurring hip injury and then early in the game Jonny Moore had to retire with a calf injury.
With their first attack on 8 minutes Antrim took the lead. A shot from the edge of the circle was deflected past Darren Rodgers by the unfortunate Ross Linter. This spurred North Down into action but the Antrim keeper was in fine form and kept his goal intact. However after 14 minutes Gareth McKeown equalised when his reverse shot found the back of the net. North Down had most of the pressure but it was 24 minutes before their pressure resulted in them taking the lead. McKeown played a fine ball to James Clark and his first time shot found the back of the net.
The second half saw North Down up the pace and they totally dominated play. Josh Gilmore got his third hat trick of the season and was only denied by the crossbar from getting a fourth goal. His first was a deflection after a melee in the circle. The second was a scorching reverse from the top of the circle and the third a rebound from a short corner won by debutant schoolboy Robbie Davidson who gave a confident performance. In between, McKeown got his second from a short corner and Phil Templeton completed the scoring with a strong shot from mid circle.
At almost the halfway point in the Premier League season, this result guarantees North Down sixth position in the table and the opportunity to play against the top sides in the second half after the league splits. They complete Phase One when they travel to play Instonians this Thursday.
PMB Man of the Match: Josh ‘Happy’ Gilmore