North Down fifths hosted a robust Antrim seconds at Regent House on Saturday in the League Cup and Antrim, known for their 1970s style of play, did not disappoint with long handle hockey right down the middle which set up a one on one with home keeper Reece Glover which was disposed of easily. 1-0 to Antrim after only 2 minutes.
The next 5 minutes proved fruitful for the home side with a good short corner routine finished off by the veteran Davy Moreland and it was deservedly 1-1.
Ten minutes of disaster then followed with the home defence at sixes and sevens. They shipped in 3 goals in 6 minutes and by only the fourteenth minute it was 4-1 to the visitors!
This prompted a quick tactical change of personnel at the back and in the second quarter North Down started to exert some pressure which eventually paid off when John Clarke got a touch to a goal bound shot from Peter Shields to make it 4-2 to Antrim at half time.
Into the third period and the 11 men of Comber now looked the stronger of the two teams. Ryan Millar and Peter Shields moved up the gears and an entire period of hockey in the Antrim half ensued. Up top, Simon Wilcock was full of energy as usual with some good movement and was creating space in the Antrim 25 whilst Adam Skelly started to assert himself more and had an excellent second half.
The third period produced two goals from the home team to make it level at 4-4. One from the evergreen Peter Shields and one from the twinkle stick of John Clarke.
Antrim finally woke up and exerted some pressure on North Down but Curtis Hastings at centre back was superb and snuffed out any significant chances for Antrim. With 14 minutes to go, the home team finally took what had earlier looked like an unlikely lead. Great work down the right from Jamie Hunter led to an inch perfect pass to Angus Johnson who strode into the Antrim circle and reversed high to the keeper’s right to make it 5-4. Two minutes later, John Clarke got his hattrick and secured the win with another fine effort.
Burch Autos Man of the Match: Davy Moreland