North Down travelled to Banbridge on Tuesday evening to play their final Kirk Cup game and were on the wrong side of a 9-0 drubbing.Playing against a top IHL side was always going to be difficult and hopefully North Down will learn from the experience and bring improvements to their remaining league fixtures.
Eugene Magee controlled things for the home side from the back and set up many attacks with accurate passes. Banbridge were good at finding space and played the ball around at pace giving the North Down defence many problems. To their credit North Down stuck to their game plan trying to make things difficult for the Bann side but the big difference between the sides was that Bann punished any slips by the visitors
In the first quarter North Down were very competitive and Bann were struggling to get control. They broke the deadlock 4 minutes from the end when a cross from the right was met by the unmarked winger at the back post and he easily beat Rodgers. Then with a minute to go they stretched their lead when a deflection looped over Rodgers and despite a valiant effort by Linter the ball entered the top of the net.
The second half followed a similar pattern but Bann increased their lead from their first short corner of the game. Some slick passing opened up the North Down defence and they added a fourth.
Two further goals were added in the third quarter as North Down were pushed further back in defence and Bann took advantage of some slack marking.
North Down did have the odd break upfield and caused Bann some problems but their defence held firm. They added a seventh from a corner and two further late goals took their tally to nine. To their credit North Down will be happy that they only conceded 5 corners in the game and fought gallantly to the end. North Down’s best chance of the game fell to Josh Gilmore in the final minutes but he flicked wide after drawing the keeper from his goal and having the goal at his mercy
Burch Autos Man of the Match was Ross Blair.