North Down thirds made the short trip to Stormont to take on a depleted Civil Service thirds side last Saturday in a Junior Two league game.
From the off North Down attacked the circle and were awarded a penalty stroke when the ball was cleared off the line by the leg of a defender. Sam Pyper duly dispatched his flick and it was 1-0 after 2 minutes. North Down continued dominating possession and creating chances however 8 minutes later some slack marking in the area let a Service forward get onto a long ball and he finished well giving Alex Montgomery no chance. 14 minutes on the clock and Pyper won a short corner for Tom Donnan to regain the lead. As the first quarter was drawing to a close another long ball into the circle found the Service striker who again equalised.
North Down introduced Dan McNulty to the midfield in the second quarter and his passing and movement off the ball was the best we have seen in white and blue. His link play with Andy Walls created chance after chance up front with the Service keeper making a few great saves. At the other end, the hosts came close a few times with the veteran Irwin and his lightning quick hands winning short corners only for Montgomery to keep him out. The second quarter ran out scoreless much to the annoyance of the visitors who should have capitalised on the number of chances created.
The second half was a different story as North Down played wider and recycled much quicker across the back. Great work from Nathan Grimshaw down the right, where he pulled the ball from the baseline to the top of the area, led to Greg Bell slamming home to take the lead. Grimshaw was again involved down the left with a pinging reverse cross that Dalzell stopped and slipped under the keeper to make it 4-2. Andy Walls then got in on the action with a good finish from close range making it 5-2 at the end of the third quarter.
A deflated Service side came out and tried to get back into the game pushing forward and leaving huge gaps in defence. McNulty linked up well with Bell and cheekily spun from close range through the keeper legs to make it 6, and ‘assist-king’ Grimshaw rounded it off with the best of the lot. On the counter, Pyper received a pass from Walls at the top of the area and slipped it left into the circle. With one advancing defender and keeper between him and the goal, Grimshaw lifted it over the defenders stick and his next touch was a short hand scoop cum drag that rippled into the roof of the net past the keeper.
Burch Autos Man of the Match was Nathan Grimshaw.