Sharp performance against Inst spoiled by concentration issues

North Down travelled to Shaws Bridge on Tuesday evening to play Instonians in their final Kirk Cup game. Without a number of regulars they knew they would be up against it as Inst have now progressed to the IHL.

The first quarter played at an exceptional pace was evenly contested with both sides probing for openings.  Missed tackles allowed Inst to penetrate the circle but Rodgers cleared the danger. Toby Fynn then cut out an attempted clearance and had a clear run into the circle but unfortunately his effort missed the goal.  Inst attacked down the right and a hard cross evaded everyone and then Jamie Orr broke from the defence beating a number of players but the attack fizzled out.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern with neither side able to get the vital breakthrough.  Inst won the first corner of the game but Rodgers made a fine save but Jordan Linter was adjudged to-have fouled and another corner was awarded.  The initial shot struck Andy Boyd on the hand and he had to leave the field with a burst finger.  At the other end Shea Kelly won a corner which led to a series of corners the last of which fell to Jonny Moore at the back post but he failed to control the ball and the chance was gone.  After a mazy run through his own defence, Toby Fynn got caught in possession but Linter was on hand to clear the danger and the half finished scoreless with much credit to the visiting team.

Inst got the vital breakthrough in the twnth minute of the third quarter.  A corner was awarded for a missed tackle and though the initial shot was saved on the line by Linter the ball broke to the incoming forward and he had a simple tap in.  North Down lost their focus and in the next minute Inst broke quickly and scored a fine second.  North Down pressed and Stevie Dalzell played Josh Gilmore in.  He won a corner but it was easily cleared before Shannon then had a half chance and succeeded in winning another corner which was cleared.  In the final minutes of the quarter Jamie Orr, who amazingly had just completed a triple marathon at the weekend, was caught in possession allowing Inst in on goal and they scored with a simple tap in.

During the third quarter break an Inst player received a yellow card and, in an effort to get back into the game, coach McSherry took the keeper off to give an extra outfield player.  However the tactic didn’t work and Rodgers was reinstated when the Inst player returned.  Inst sealed the victory with two late goals, the first a shot from the top of the circle and the second after a defender lost the ball and the attacker scored with a reverse shot. In the final seconds Ross Linter attacked the circle but his cross was cleared.

This was a good performance from North Down despite the scoreline which did not fairly reflect the play.  However they must focus after conceding a goal as, for the second game in a row were caught napping and twice conceded a second goal almost immediately.

Burch Autos Man of the Match was Toby Fynn.

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