2019 kicked off with a comprehensive win for North Down fifths, a 7-3 victory away to Civil Service fourths.
The match started with both sides clearly showing some post Christmas rust and in some cases post Christmas timber. Service did start the brighter and deservedly took a goal advantage after 7 minutes. In what has become a fifths tradition they didn’t get going until well into the game but by the second part of the first half were all over the Service defence. Good chances came and went, Ben Bond uncharacteristically taking too much time in the circle. North Down finally got their breakthrough after another circle break resulting in Angus Johnston intelligently lobbing the goal keeper from five yards. North Down continued to press and a quick brace of goals made it 3-1 at half time.
Service threatened a comeback when, after 10 minutes, they managed to pull one back to make it 3-2 but this turned out to be a false dawn. Peter Shields and Angus Johnson grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and took it to the Service midfield. Three well worked and well struck short corners made it 6-2 during which time Matt Murray almost broke the backboard twice from the shorts and an excellent short variation was finished by off by Peter Shields. Service did pull a late consolation goal out of the hat but the final result was never in doubt and North Down ran out comfortable winners at 7-3.
Features of the North Down game were the performance of the younger players just starting in senior hockey. Ben Irwin was his usual cool self in defence, Guy McGonigle came in to link play and had his best game to date and a special mention to Adam Skelly who had an absolute superb second half, great link play, got involved in attack and worked hard when he lost the ball.
PMB Man of the Match: Adam Skelly