North Down fifths travelled to Bangor with hopes of winning the cup this year. Bangor were plum bottom of the league but had a strong lineup.
It was a bit of muted start with both sides not getting the ball under control. North Down’s usual fluidity around the back was not in operation. Poor control, poor marking and inaccurate passing and they were soon one goal down. The wakeup call was not heeded and Bangor strolled through the centre of the pitch a further 2 times and it was 3-0 after 20 minutes. The shocked faces of the North Down side said it all. In the last 10 minutes of the first half North Down got their act together and were camped in the Bangor 25. A couple of half chances were not taken but the short corner count was mounting.
Finally Matt Murray got a rip cracker of a shot away only for the Bangor defender to save on the line with his stick, if he tried 100 times he wouldn’t have been able to do it again.
At half time the guys got an extremely stern talking too, everyone knew their game needed to be upped about 5 levels just to get to their usual standard. North Down started the second half much faster, hungrier and committed than their Bangor counterparts. Peter Shields started to grease the midfield engine and pushed the guys forward. Chances were being created down both flanks. Finally North Down got the breakthrough they deserved when Greg Bell broke into the circle and rifled high into the Bangor net. The comeback was on. Changing to a gung ho 3-3-4 paid off as North Down continued to press forward. More chances came and went, Bangor were creaking at the back. With 12 minutes to go Ben Bond enthusiastically finished well in front of goal after some good work from Adam Skelly and Sam Pyper. A well won short corner resulted in a penalty flick to North Down. Ben Bond had the nerve to step forward and scored high to the keeper’s right to make it 3-3.
With 6 minutes left on the clock North Down pushed for the win, in the dying seconds a great chance fell to Peter Bond but the Bangor keeper who had a super game saved easily to his right.
So it was on to the dreaded run ins. Sam Pyper finished top bins for his effort and Greg Bell finished well for his but Bangor scored two more and they go through to the semi final.
PMB Man of the Match: Ben Bond