Thirds grind out another win
North Down thirds travelled to South Antrim on the newly installed Friends School synthetic pitch. With momentum on their side the Comber men were in positive form even though a few familiar faces had been called up to the seconds. Nonetheless those that filled the gaps, Clarke, Dorian, Brown and Vincent, did so and did not look out of place. The back four of Walker, Dorian, Nicholson and Beaney looked organised and hard to break down.
That said, they had to be at their best against a good South Antrim team who have yet to lose badly even though they lie near the foot of Junior 3. North Down stuttered to make an impact between midfield and attack and they knew it would have to be a day for taking chances. The first breakthrough came following great work from both Sam Pyper and Gordy Brown who earned a short corner. The push out went astray however Nicholson collected and slipped square to Pyper who controlled and found the corner with a low drive. The visitors went one up after 15 minutes and soon added to their tally with Brown finding Clarke at the back post and the winger deflected smartly past the home keeper with his first touch following his appearance form the bench. It was 0-2 to the league leaders at half time.
In the second half South Antrim came much more into the game and were unlucky not to convert at least one of many chances with Lee Brown standing strong in goal, Dorian clearing off the line and skipper Walls out quickly at short corners. This would be a tough half with the next goal crucial. South Antrim continued to dominate and North Down could only rely on counter attacking hockey but never really got those final few passes together to get the all important third goal. As in recent games the thirds kept their structure and balance when ahead and absorbed the pressure well to see out the result. The hosts put up a great challenge and their results to date illustrate they have only been narrowly beaten and certainly deserve to convert a few more of their chances and start to take some points in the league.
Man of the Match: Stuart Nicholson
Report by Sam Pyper