Having convincingly defeated Antrim earlier in the season, North Down were looking forward with confidence to their visit to Antrim Forum on Saturday.
However Antrim fielding a number of changes offered a much more difficult challenge than was expected. In fact they could have been two goals up before North Down started. The first saw McBride miskick and it took a brilliant block from McGimpsey to stop Antrim from taking the lead. Then they worked the ball into the circle and failed to get a touch when it seemed easier to score.
North Down slowly got to grips with the game and took the lead when Stevie Dalzell finished from close range. Andy Forrest then smacked the post with a flick but from a resulting corner David Shepherd scored with a well rehearsed move. It was all North Down at this stage and Shepherd won a penalty when the keeper brought him down but Keith Conway blasted wide from the spot. At the break, it was 2-0 for the visitors.
The second half saw Antrim in the ascendency and they pulled a goal back from a corner after Michael Black had been penalised. Almost immediately North Down attacked down the right and a defender deflected into his own net after being put under pressure by Andy Forrest. Back into a two goal lead at 3-1 this settled North Down and they began to control midfield. Tom Donnan who was having one of his quieter games found himself in space on the left side of the circle and in spectacular fashion flicked the ball over the keeper and into the roof of the net for a contender for goal of the season. Just in the final minute North Down won a corner and Shepherd’s effort came off the bottom of the post but Phil Wilson was on hand to force home.
Without five regulars, coach Peter Whyte was pleased with his team’s performance as they move into the latter half of the season with still all to play for.