Late goal seals win in Mossley
The men’s thirds travelled to The Glade to face Mossley thirds on Saturday with a limited squad of12 men. What was described as a ‘6 pointer’ due to adjacent positions in the league did not disappoint the spectators.
North Down eager to widen the gap from the relegation zone, started well and created some great opportunities but they were wasted with skipper Sam Pyper looking off form and struggling to get to grips with the notoriously difficult pitch. At the back, the thirds looked solid and moved the ball well around the back creating flank attacks from Finn Cross and Mark Linter but the quarter finished scoreless.
Seconds into the second quarter a well worked move and a Andy McKee cross found Jonny Proctor who controlled well and finished past the advancing keeper to put the visitors one up. Mossley then grew into the game and Linter saved off the line from a well struck shot. North Down won a number of short corners but inaccuracy in the push outs slowed play down and Mossley cleared the danger. McKee continued his great array of passing and put Pyper in one on one, but the Mossley keeper did well forcing him wide and a long corner was the result.
Into the second half and coach Jonny Davidson continued to freshen up the front line as Sam Brown and Bryn Walker both had a turn uncharacteristically on the wings and created chances. Still a threat at the other end, Mossley took home advantage and made best use of the pitch conditions that they are well versed to. Bobbling balls, slow areas of the pitch and the inconsistent surface caused havoc and the home side earned a number of shorts. The Mossley captain equalled the scoring with a well struck reverse and soon after, on 49 minutes, their target man was left free in the area and finished well into the roof of the net for the home side to take a surprising 2-1 lead.
In the final quarter break, the message was that a point was not good enough, two goals were needed and expected. The Comber boys started brightly and on 59 minutes Linter overlapped down the left to cross. Mossley’s attempted clearance found Proctor on the base line and he calmly slotted a square ball to Cross to equalise at 2-2 from close range. Another goal for this super young talent! North Down continued to press and with only 3 minutes remaining, Linter’s out stretched stick deflected the ball waist high across goal and Pyper deflected down through the advancing keeper’s legs and goal bound to take the lead. The thirds just about ran the clock down with a few nervous moments in the final minutes and the final whistle came as great relief to the embattled troops.
Burch Autos Man of the Match: Jonny Proctor