By Julie Fisher
Last Saturday North Down 4ths played Annadale 2nds in the Junior Plate at Comber Leisure Centre.
North Down had played such great hockey the previous week, beating the top of their league opposition and were looking to repeat their performance. However this was not to be the case in the first half. The home team struggled to settle and play their usual passing style of hockey and by half time were two goals down. This lack lustre state of play continued during the first ten minutes of the second period for North Down. Then all was to change. An encouraging call from Beverley Brittain rallied the team and within seconds Julie Fisher had lobbed the ball over the keeper from some tight goal mouth action. One goal back and the home side were pushing forward yet again. Lynsey Stevenson attacked down the right while the midfield worked hard, applying pressure. With a couple of minutes to spare until full time Julie Fisher got her second when she scored past the keeper from an inch perfect pass she had received from Lynsey Stevenson. The full time whistle blew and with the score at two goals each, extra time was to follow.
At the end of the first session of extra time the score remained unchanged. After a quick change round the last period of play began and if by the end of it, the score still resulted in a draw, penalty flicks would ensue. Both teams, dreading the thought of flicks, were piling on the pressure in the last five minutes but North Down’s defence held firm. Maxine, Emma and Ann used their experience to diffuse the Annadale attacks while the two young Anna’s also played very well in the left and right back positions. About one minute from time, Julie Fisher made a run down the pitch and into the left side of the circle and then passed the ball across the goal mouth to Joanne Irwin, who made no mistake and sent the ball past the keeper into the net. Final whistle blew a few seconds later as the new rule of silver goal requires play to continue after a goal has been scored to the end of a period of play.
A jubilant home side with their 3-2 victory are now through to the last eight teams in the Junior Plate. A great come back girls!
Many thanks to Krista Blanchflower for umpiring.
Player of the match: Julie Fisher.