The men’s seconds travelled to Lisnagarvey last Saturday for the second week in succession, this time to take on Garvey 2nds having been defeated 4-1 by their 3rds the previous week. This was always going to be a tough assignment against one of the top sides in Junior 1 as they had a revamped defence for the fourth successive game with Jordan Linter replacing his promoted brother Mark and Jordan McKee returning from injury at right back.
North Down were slow to start against a Garvey team who were quick out of the blocks and caught the disorganised visitors napping 3 minutes in by winning and scoring their first short corner of the game. This could have been the start of a long afternoon for the seconds but they dug in and gradually got back into the game playing some impressive hockey against a shaken Garvey defence. On 16 mins, Paul Johnston, playing his first 2nd XI game of the season, played a number of one/twos with the midfield before squeezing his shot beyond the impressive Garvey keeper.
All square and North Down were right in the game. The game was fought evenly for the next 10 minutes before Garvey scored a fortunate goal after a good defensive block landed in the path of a Garvey forward who expertly steered home on the reverse. 1-2 to Garvey with half-time approaching, North Down piled pressure on looking for the equaliser which just evaded them. Half time came and North Down knew they had to score the next goal to stay in the game.
The second half commenced with both sides contesting fiercely and Garvey getting frustrated against a stubborn yet positive North Down side. With the game moving into the last quarter, Garvey managed to edge in front scoring from a corner after 56 mins to go 3-1 ahead. The effort the North Down side had put in started to tell as tiring legs and recurring injuries started to disrupt and deflate the 2nds. Once Garvey scored their third they stepped up a level and the tiring North Down side struggled to contain their attacks whilst pushing for a second goal. Although North Down fought hard, Garvey took control and the 3 points when scoring their fourth after 60 mins and their fifth on 63 mins. Even more frustrating for North Down was the scrappiness of the goals with the defence unable to clear the ball. 5-1 didn’t reflect the performance from the 2nds and they can definitely take heart into a must win encounter with Newry 2nds next week. An improved performance against a strong Garvey side will give confidence to the North Down lads hoping to be strengthened next week by players returning from injury. Matt Jordan impressed in goal as did Paul Johnston in defence and Adam Tate up front.