North Down entertained league leaders Instonians last Saturday in Comber and following the disappointment of their midweek performance against South Antrim regained the spirit and fight that has been prominent in other recent games.
Inst dominated possession for long periods but the North Down defence with goalkeeper McArthur in outstanding form held firm. North Down held their shape and began to grow in confidence. They won a corner but the delivery was not accurate and the shot was easily cleared. Their best chance fell shortly afterwards to Gareth McKeown who worked his way into the circle but his shot at goal went wide. Jordan Linter then kept the home team in the game when he made a fine goal line clearance from an Inst corner with McArthur beaten and a tight half of hockey ended goalless.
The second half continued in the same vein with McArthur making several excellent saves to keep his side in the game. After 15 minutes in the second half, and against the run of play, skipper Ross Linter squeezed the ball home from mid circle. Inst now had to lift their game in order to reduce the arrears, They won a series of corners which had been dealt with very confidently by the home defence but they changed their routine and the winger nipped in to deflect home the equaliser. With 10 minutes remaining they scored the winner from another corner which took a slight deflection and went in at the near post. Try as they might, North Down could not secure good ball up the pitch and failed in their efforts to win penalty corners.
Inst deserved their victory to stay top of the Premiership but North Down should take a lot of confidence from this performance as more vital games lie ahead.
PMB Man of the Match: Alastair McArthur
Report by Robin Munchell