North Down 3 – 4 Portadown
North Down entertained second placed Portadown at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday. Starting without four regulars North Down would have been happy to share the spoils but a late burst from Portadown saw them gain maximum points.
North Down were quick out of the blocks and were two up early on. Rowan Poots intercepted a Portadown clearance and drove at the circle for his cross to be cleverly deflected high into the net by Gareth Bailie. Minutes later Tom Donnan picked up a loose ball at the top of the circle and hammered home first time to make it 2-0. Portadown were then given a lifeline when the ball was deflected onto Michael Orr’s foot but the umpire played a good advantage allowing the Portadown forward to continue and score. North Down were not downhearted and continued to press the Portadown circle eventually being awarded a penalty corner for Poots to expertly flick into the net and restore the two goal advantage. Just on the stroke of half time Portadown were awarded a corner which was poorly defended by North Down and they again reduced the arrears to make it 3-2 at the break.
The second half continued with both teams pushing for the next goal. Midway through a well contested half, the North Down defence was caught out of position and Portadown finally got back on level terms with a simple tap in. The Portadown defence remained calm under pressure and dealt well with the North Down attacks however Poots was unlucky to see his short corner effort rebound off the post to safety. With North Down pushing forward, the defence was again caught out of position and Portadown took the lead for the first time with another simple tap in. In the final minutes as North Down pushed for the equaliser, Portadown had chances to increase their lead but lacked composure in front of goal.
North Down should not be too disappointed with the result as their performance overall was good and should look forward to getting back to winning ways this Saturday.
Report by Robin Mitchell.