North Down travelled to Kilkeel last Saturday for a Premier League game with reorganisation of the midfield required due to the unavailability of Chris Speers and Steven McGimpsey. However the side put up a credible performance before eventually going down 3-1.
The first half was goalless but it was North Down who had to absorb most of the pressure. Goalkeeper Andy Coates had to be on his toes on a number of occasions to keep his goal intact. Both sides won short corners but the bumpy surface resulted in neither team being able to take advantage of these opportunities.
The second half was only two minutes old when North Down took the lead. The ball was played out to Gareth McKeown on the left, his cross evaded the home defence and Josh Gilmore was on hand to score with a strong flick. Kilkeel’s pace was causing some problems but a well marshalled defence looked solid with Phil Templeton in particular having a great game. On 60 minutes two passages of play changed the whole pattern of the game. Firstly North Down should have increased their lead when Gilmore and Wilson found themselves with a two on one situation in the Kilkeel 25. Although they rounded the defender the keeper managed to block Gilmore’s effort. Moments later Kilkeel scored an equaliser when there appeared to be no danger. The ball was on their left flank and Finlay played a reverse cross which entered the circle at shoulder height and was swatted into the net by Aiken past Coates to everyone’s amazement. The goal was allowed to stand as there was no danger to a North Down defender from the cross.
Kilkeel got a lift from this and went into the lead with 7 minutes remaining scoring from close range through Tremlett. They then sealed the points with a goal in the final minutes when poor marking allowed Agnew to turn and shoot past Coates. Both sides had a number of corners in the second period but neither was able to properly control the ball and get a shot on target. North Down can be reasonably satisfied with their performance and on another day may have been able to hold out for at least a point.
PMB Man of the Match: Phil Templeton
Report from Robin Mitchell