North Down thirds hosted Cookstown thirds at Comber Leisure Centre last Saturday in glorious sunshine. After the previous week’s heavy defeat, the home side was hoping for an all round better performance.
The hosts started the brighter and controlled the game but that final pass high up the pitch limited their scoring opportunities. Cookstown held their line well and surprisingly went 1-0 up on the counter. The pattern of play continued in the same vein in the second quarter with North Down holding much of the possession, but the visitors again countered and went two up with their second attack of the game. The hosts pressed and started to make more opportunities winning a few short corners and making the Cookstown keeper earn his crust. A well worked passing routine saw the keeper parry into the path of Dan Lavery who slotted home to get the Comber men back in the game. However, minutes later Cookstown scored with their next attack to go 3-1 up at half time.
The home troops rallied after half time and came out in the second half adamant to get back into the game. A great run by Jacob Craig and an even better low reverse shot from a tight angle made it 3-2, before skipper Sam Pyper struck a short corner to level the scores going into the final quarter. The visitors were rattled and clearly had a lot to say during the two minute quarter break. Straight from the restart North Down almost took the lead from Pyper but the retreating keeper without helmet and gloves on managed to scramble the ball clear. The thirds continued to press but it was Cookstown once again that took the lead following a series of short corners. Time was ticking away but a great run from Craig down the right set up Robbie Sinclair in front of goal to level the scores once again. The remaining 5 minutes could have gone either way with both sides having chances however it remained 4-4 and both sides would have been disappointed to have got nothing out of the game.
Burch Autos Man of the Match: Jacob Craig