Disappointing loss for mens firsts

North Down entertained South Antrim at Comber Leisure Centre on Saturday and were disappointed to be on the wrong end of a 2-3 scoreline.

Their pre match talk confirmed that they wanted a fast start which would keep the visitors on the back foot but this plan was shattered in the first minute.  Straight from the hit off South played a high flick into the right corner which was not dealt with by the home defence.  The winger attacked the circle and slipped the ball to the centre forward on the penalty spot and he dispatched the ball into the net to give the visitors the perfect start.  This unsettled the home side and they struggled to cope with the pace of the South forwards.  North Down did win a corner but it was cleared and then a cross from the right was scrambled clear but the ball broke to Tom Donnan who equalised with a strong reverse shot

The second quarter saw South Antrim continue where they left off.  They won a lot of turnover ball with the result that North Down were unable to penetrate their circle. A quick passing movement ended with a corner to the Lisburn team but Rodgers made a fine save and North broke quickly to the other end but Bailie’s cross failed to find a white shirt.  Five minutes in South took the lead when the winger scored with a fierce shot from mid circle giving Rodgers no chance.  Shortly afterwards Donnan and Gilmore combined and Gilmore made it 2-2 with a reverse from the left side of the circle.  South Antrim piled on the pressure winning a number of corners but these were well dealt with by the home defence.  Right on the stroke of half time the ball came off a North Down defender and from the resultant corner South took a 3-2 lead.

North Down upped the pace in the second half and South received a green card for dissent.  Spratt and Tweedie both had good runs beating several defenders but their play did not have an end result.  Chances from open play were few although it was South who seemed to have less difficulty in penetrating the circle winning a series of corners but again the home defence was solid.

In the final quarter South almost increased their lead but a goal bound shot crashed of the bar to safety and then Phil Templeton cleared a corner off the line.  At this stage North Down were playing their best hockey but were unable to create any clear cut chances.  The final whistle went with South running out deserved winners by 3-2

Burch Autos Man of the Match was Darren Rodgers

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