North Down entertained Newry in a Premier League fixture last Saturday at Comber Leisure Centre and with both teams perilously close to the bottom of the table a win was of vital importance to both sides.
North Down welcomed back Gareth McKeown from injury and for once had a full panel of players available. They got the perfect start when after 5 minutes they were awarded a penalty corner. Ross Linter was fouled when driving into the circle and David Shepherd dispatched into the net. Play was confined to midfield for a long period and as a result goal scoring chances were few. Both sides won short corners but the delivery was poor and the chances were wasted. Scotty Moore got into a great position at the far post but his deft deflection was off target.
The second half followed a similar pattern until North Down increased their lead when McKeown converted a switch at a penalty corner. Play became scrappy with players from both sides spending time in the sinbin and at one stage a home spectator was dispatched to the local sports shop to obtain 11 whistles for the visitors! This upset North Down’s rhythm and Newry pulled a goal back with 17 minutes remaining when the defence failed to attack the ball allowing a Newry forward a clear shot at goal giving Alastair McArthur no chance.
Almost immediately after this the floodlights which had only partially switched on now failed completely and the umpires after waiting for 10 minutes abandoned the game. This left the North Down bench and players frustrated as this was the second time this season that floodlights failure has resulted in a premature end to a game.
It is now a decision for the UHU Competitions Committee to decide whether the result will stand or if a replay is necessary either to play out the full match again or the remaining 17 minutes. Smart money is on completion of the last 17 minutes as this has been the UHU decision in the past.
Report by Robben Minchell