North Down welcomed a Dungannon side to Comber last Saturday hoping that they would have one eye on their Ulster Shield semi-final against Lurgan the following day. However this couldn’t have been further from the case as it looked like the home side who were saving themselves for another day.
Dungannon opened their account from a short corner and although the initial effort was dealt with their striker Kennedy got a second bite of the cherry and scored on her reverse at the near post. Despite the goal coming early and still with everything to play for North Down heads dropped. Dungannon dominated for long periods and has several short corners however failed to capitalise. Eventually they extended their lead to 2-0 not long before half time when slack marking was punished by McKay for the visitors.
Coach Geoff Colligan tried to galvanise his troops at half time but it seemed that it was one of those days when nothing would go right for the home side. Basic skills such as first touch, ball retention and protection of feet seemed to totally evade North Down. Dungannon stretched their lead to 3-0 from a short corner strike from Elliott that was parried by the gloved hand of Trish Neill but still found its way into the net. Despite this being the first shot on goal and the ball clearly being too high the score stood and North Down’s day went from bad to worse. However, after this North Down did start to play some decent hockey and had a period of 10 minutes were they were in the ascendency but a couple of chances, two great through balls by Rachel Russell and two short corners, were not capitalised on.
As decisions continued to go against North Down frustrations began to show and discipline was lost with three North Down players being sent to the sin bin. Dungannon made use of their numerical advantage to score their fourth and final goal. They hit on a quick counter and again slack marking saw Miller one on one with Neill and she kept her composure to slot home.
This was a very disappointing performance from North Down and one they know they must recover quickly from as a trip to Lisnagarvey this Saturday presents another opportunity to pick up points.
Report from Laura Clarke.