First eleven blitzed in third quarter!

Hockey returned on Saturday after the Xmas break and North Down welcomed league leaders Instonians to Comber Leisure Centre for a Premier League fixture.  North Down were without some regulars due to Covid and injury and took the opportunity to introduce  young up and coming player Oliver Smith to the squad.

Both teams started cautiously and Inst were first to show when they won a corner after the ball had struck a defender’s foot but the shot went wide.  Andy Mcgimpsey played a dangerous ball into the circle but it was deflected to safety.  Inst who were overloading the right hand side  found a player unmarked and his cross was flicked home from close range.  Shortly afterwards another cross from the right was parried by Darren Rodgers but a waiting forward flicked home from mid circle.  Jamie Spratt who was causing problems with his close control found space in the circle and unleashed a reverse shot which was not dealt with by the visitors’ keeper and Scott Moore was on hand to reduce the arrears.

The second quarter saw little goalmouth action but it was North Down who looked more dangerous.  Andy Boyd played a good ball to Spratt and his reverse rocket shot was deflected home by Scott Moore for the equaliser.  Spratt again was causing problems and his shot came off the post to safety.  Hunter then put Moore in but he failed to get good contact and the chance was lost.

The third quarter saw Inst up the pace but North Down failed to match them and their high press saw the home team pinned back in defence.  They took the lead when they were first to the ball in a scramble in front of goal.  Then Rodgers was penalised for a dangerous clearance and Gleghorn scored from the resulting corner.  The right back made a strong run and was upended by Welsh who received a card for his trouble.  From the corner which followed Kirk scored after the initial shot was saved and just before the end of the quarter good interplay down the right saw them extend their lead to 6-2.

North Down started the final quarter in a more positive mood and Moore was unlucky not to complete his hat trick when his effort rattled off the bar.  North Down won a corner for feet and Templeton’s effort was well saved by the full back at the base of the post.  Conor Tweedie won another corner and this time Templeton saw his effort go over the bar and then Inst completed the scoring with minutes to go after a good passing movement. Ross Linter had few good runs down the right but nothing came from his efforts.

Leaving aside the third quarter this was a positive performance from the home side and hopefully they will take this forward into remaining fixtures

Burch Autos Man of the Match was Jamie Spratt

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