North Down travelled to Deramore Park on Saturday with both teams requiring victory to secure a top seven spot before the Premier League splits. The North Down squad was somewhat depleted with the withdrawal of Nichols and when Moore reported with an injury sustained in an earlier game the squad was down to 14.
After five minutes Andrew McKibbin sustained an injury which meant he could take no further part and North Down were in trouble. North Down took the lead after 10 minutes when Phil Wilson finished off a fine move. Harlequins pushed for the equaliser and were rewarded after 17 minutes following a short corner. Coates made a save from the initial shot but Harlequins reacted quickest and slotted home the rebound. McKeown had a short corner brilliantly cleared off the line by a defender. Coates had to be at his best to keep out the Harlequins attack. With a minute of the half remaining Harlequins won a corner. When the initial shot was cleared a Harlequins’ player swung wildly at the clearance but failed to make contact. The ball was played back into the circle and slotted past Coates.
The second half saw North Down on the ascendency but Harlequins were dangerous on the break. North Down won a penalty after 10 minutes when a goal bound shot hit a defender on the line but McKeown’s effort was saved by Kelly. North Down won several corners but these brought no reward although one was cleared off the line. A slip by Andy Boyd allowed Harlequins in for a clear run on goal and Coates was given no chance. North Down continued to press and McKeown reduced the arrears with minutes remaining. Time ran out and North Down were left ruing the missed chances.
PMB Man of the Match: Gareth McKeown