North Down travelled to Portadown on Saturday for a Premier League game. Their plans were slightly hampered by the late withdrawal of Andy McGimpsey leaving coach Rodgers with only 13 players at his disposal. The situation worsened when Jonny Linter received a nasty mouth injury after 10 minutes and was unable to take any further part in the game.
However North Down were not deterred and put up a strong performance which deserved a better outcome. In the first period Portadown had slightly more of the possession but were unable to break down a resolute North Down defence. On a couple of occasions when gaps occurred Montgomery in goal dealt confidently with the threats. North Down won a number of corners but Shepherd’s efforts were well saved by Knipe. With 5 minutes of the half remaining Portadown broke quickly from defence and an excellent pass into the circle was touched goalwards but unfortunately the ball struck Adgey on the foot as he attempted a clearance. Portadown scored from the resultant penalty. North Down went straight on the attack and should have equalised when Gareth McKeown found space in the circle but his shot was off target.
The second half saw North Down up the pace and put Portadown under severe pressure and McKeown again had a chance when put through by Speers after a piercing run but with only the keeper to beat lost control and the chance was gone. Then Black snatched at a cross and hit wide. North Down won four corners but two efforts were wide, one was taken off the line with Knipe beaten and the other was saved.
In between Portadown won two corners but these were well dealt with by the defence. With North Down pushing for the equaliser Portadown broke with pace and scored with a reverse shot from mid circle. At the other end North Down in a scramble hit the post and then saw the ball cleared.
Overall, this was a good performance for North Down but unfortunately it was not their day in front of goal. The league now closes for the Christmas break and the next game is scheduled for 9 January.
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