North Down entertained Mossley in the first Premier League fixture of the season at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday and ran out winners by 4-3 in an entertaining game played in atrocious conditions.
North Down had prepared well for the game and knew it would be a close encounter. Play was fast and furious as both teams tried to get control and it was North Down who were first to strike when Chris Speers slotted home a short corner on 14 minutes. North Down increased their advantage when they attacked down the right and Ross Linter’s cross was volleyed home by Josh Gilmore. The keeper then made an excellent save from Gareth McKeown to keep Mossley in the game at a short corner. Mossley fought hard and pulled one back just before half time. Moreland was allowed to run unchallenged from the back and on reaching the circle unleashed a reverse shot past the home keeper.
The second half was only minutes old when Mossley equalised. A cross from the left by Todd was missed by the North Down defence and knocked in at the far post. North Down then settled and played some excellent hockey. They won a corner which McKeown dispatched into the net to restore the lead and Nicholls further increased the lead when he hit an unstoppable shot from the top of the circle into the roof of the net. Phil Wilson had a fine effort expertly cleared by the Mossley defence when a goal seemed likely but Mossley never stopped pressing and were rewarded when Todd scored from a short corner with ten minutes remaining.
The last few minutes were played at a frantic pace as Mossley fought to get back on level terms. Despite winning a corner right on the final whistle the North Down defence held out for a vital three points.
PMB Man of the Match: Mark Linter
Report by Robin Mitchell