North Down entertained Instonians in a top of the table clash at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday but unfortunately for the hosts poor early defensive play saw Inst take the early initiative and run out comfortable winners by 5-1.
The game was virtually over after 8 minutes as poor defensive play allowed Inst to score three times in quick succession. The first followed a short corner as, although Darren Rodgers made a fine save from Robinson, none of his fellow defenders reacted quickly enough and Inst hammered the rebound into the back of the net. North Down then tried to play their way out of trouble but a pass from the back was intercepted and Inst went two up. A harmless overhead pass then bounced awkwardly for the defenders and in a flash Inst were 3 up. Good play by North Down created a good chance for Jamie Orr but he shot wide from six yards out.
The second quarter was a much more even affair and neither team was able to create a straight forward chance. North Down had their fair share of the play but Inst always looked comfortable in defence.
The third quarter saw Inst up their game and they went further ahead. They attacked down the right and squared the ball for a simple tap in with the home defence out of position. North Down won a number of corners and Jonny Linter was unlucky to see his effort scrambled clear.
In the final quarter Inst squandered chances and at the other end North Down had efforts well saved but it was Inst who went further ahead with an identical goal to their fourth. Good play down the right and a perfect cross left a simple tap in. To their credit North Down kept pushing forward and reduced the arrears when good play by Robbie Davidson gave Josh Gilmore the opportunity to score from close range.
North Down travel to unbeaten Cookstown next week and will have to batten down the hatches if they are to achieve a better result.
Burch Autos Man of the Match was Ross Blair