North Down travelled to Kilkeel on Saturday for their opening game in the Kirk Cup.
Coach Aarron Mills had a much bigger squad at his disposal than last year and is using the Kirk Cup games to sort out his best starting eleven before the league programme begins.All 16 players got valuable pitch time on Saturday but with so many changes pattern of play was disrupted at times.
The first half was an even affair with play confined to midfield.However North Down broke the deadlock after 20 minutes when Gareth McKeown scored with a reverse shot from an acute angle.Kilkeel have a speedy front line and used this to creat a simple tap in for Annett after receiving a cross from the right
Kilkeel took the lead early in the second period when they converted a short corner and further increased their lead when an overhead pass caught the visitors defence out and Mc Bride was given no chance in goal..North Down fought hard and were rewarded when Bailie scored from close in after a scramble in the circle.The North Down midfield and defence were caught out time and again with the overhead pass and McBride had to make some smart saves to keep the speedy forwards at bay With about 10 minutes remaining Kilkeel sealed their victory with a well taken fourth goal.
North Down will be disappointed with their short corner routine failing to get a shot on goal and must spend some time practicing this routine..