North Down thirds travelled to play Banbridge fourths last Friday night and faced a strong 16 man squad eager to climb out of the relegation places of Junior 3. With the Comber men unbeaten thus far and riding high this would always have been a challenge however the visitors knew this would be an entirely different game from the 9-1 goal fest on the first day of the season.
North Down started the brighter with some good possession hockey and quickly countered their opponents four man midfield setup. With McBride in goals, the defence looked organised and kept the Banbridge danger men at bay. Bryn Walker deservedly promoted to the squad did not look out of place and had a good game. The thirds went ahead when a quick free on the right allowed Brown to find Pyper in the centre of the circle. The veteran striker beat the last defender and nipped the ball round the keeper for Scottie Moore to beat his man to the ball and tap in. Moore was quickly back on the scoresheet again and seemingly can do no wrong this season. He picked up a loose ball in the circle and tried to play a close pass to Proctor only to see it find the goal under two players and the Bann keeper to make it 2-0 at the break.
Determined not to have a repeat of the previous week, North Down knew that the next goal was important and although Bann came much more into the game they hardly troubled McBride. It was indeed the visitors who got the vital third when Pyper took a quick free from the 5 yard line and played in Jonny Proctor who found the back of the net at the second time of asking. With ten minutes to go the points were secure as North Down kept possession and controlled the game but to Bann’s credit they got a consolation goal in the last few minutes from an overhead ball that Nicholson missed and the striker caught in the air to beat McBride. North Down appealed for a free however both umpires agreed the striker was the required 5 yards away when the ball dropped.
This was an overall good and structured performance by the league leaders who will look to continue their run this Saturday away to South Antrim thirds.