North Down entertained Raphoe last Saturday in the Kirk Cup at Comber Leisure Centre. Having lost their first two group games coach Aaron Mills was hoping for an improved performance however as has been the case in recent games, poor defensive mistakes and missed opportunities in front of goal cost the home side dearly losing by 3-1.
North Down opened at a fast pace and attacked the Raphoe defence creating a number of chances but poor finishing allowed Raphoe to keep their goal intact. Against the run of play Raphoe took the lead after 15 minutes. With their first attack on the circle they won a corner which Gareth McBride did well to block but the defence failed to clear and the Raphoe attacker scrambled the ball over the line.
North down went back on the attack and got back on level terms when Gareth Bailie found the net diving at the far post to meet Tom Donnan’s cross. Gareth McKeown was unfortunate to dislocate his shoulder when he was sandwiched between Linter and a Raphoe defender. This disrupted North Down’s rhythm and two moments of madness just before halftime allowed Raphoe to take a comfortable lead. Firstly Chris Speers was dispossessed and the forward hammered the ball home first time then almost immediately Jordan Linter was outpaced and Raphoe were given a simple tap in.
The second half was a more even affair with play confined to midfield for long periods and neither goalkeeper being called to make any saves of significance. This coming Saturday sees the completion of the Kirk Cup programme at home to Harlequins and the home side will be hoping to eradicate the simple errors which have cost them dearly in recent weeks.