North Down fifths threw away two points and a victory last Saturday away to Saintfield seconds and in truth ended up lucky to leave Saintfield with a point.
Excitement was high, playing on Saintfield’s new pitch for the first time and it is genuinely good to see that Saintfield as a club seem to have turned the corner after a rocky patch. The new facility is great and will stand them in good stead into the future.
North Down started far and away the better of the two sides. Constant pressure in the Saintfield final third was the feature of the first 10 minutes and after a few half chances, North Down scored from a short corner when Peter Shields firmly hit towards goal for Andrew Linter to clean up and deservedly put North Down 1-0 up.
More chances came and went with the Saintfield keeper proving his worth with some top notch saves. Having just missed a golden opportunity, Ben Bond put it aside and scored an absolutely fantastic goal on the reverse from the tightest of angles on 22 minutes leading to a stunned silence all round due to the epic finish. Ben then scored a second 2 minutes later and at 3-0 the game already looked over.
Uncharacteristically, the fifths immediately sat back, the usual rock solid defence gave up a cheap goal and it was suddenly 3-1 at half time.
The second half started as the first had ended. Saintfield were playing simple direct hockey which North Down couldn’t handle. The visitors’ nonchalant attitude resulted in them losing their shape and a simple play resulted in a Saintfield short corner on 44 minutes and bang, it was 3-2. A bit of a shake up from North Down, Ryan Millar pressed into the 25 and a pass found Ben Bond who finished well past the advancing keeper and the match ball was Ben Bond’s… 4-2 and all was well again. However, North Down somehow managed to snatch what felt like a defeat from the jaws of victory. With 20 minutes left on the clock they looked like they were the side 4-2 down. Saintfield rode their luck and numerous individual errors resulted in Saintfield sneaking a third goal and unbelievably an equalizing fourth after shambolic marking right from the Saintfield 25. In the end the visitors were lucky to hold on to the point with the Comber keeper proving his worth and making a number of good saves with only seconds remaining. It is great to have a young keeper back on the books with lots of potential.
PMB Man of the Match: Ben Bond