PORTRUSH II 11
NORTH DOWN V 1
Portrush welcomed North Down to Quay Road looking to continue their recent success and began the game on the front foot, signalling their attack intent from the offset.
The Ports didn’t have to wait long before they broke the deadlock after Barry McMullan unselfishly squared the ball to Andy Dalzell, who made no mistake from close range.
Further first half goals followed from James McCook, Barry McMullan and Peter McMullan, who finished superbly from a short corner from the edge of the circle.
Despite the attacking onslaught, careless play allowed the visitors to win a number of short corners at the other end and Matt Jordan, in no mood to concede against his former side, had to make a number of speculative saves.
Portrush, despite lacking fluidity in their passing, continued to create chances at will but missed a hatful of chances to extend their lead. Towards the end of the half, veteran Tom Cartmill saw his close-range effort incorrectly ruled out, much to his disappointment.
At the half time interval, Portrush outlined their intention to pass the ball better and signified the importance of the keeping clean sheet but within 5 minutes of the restart they were caught napping and allowed North Down back into the game. A fine solo effort from the North Down player, who ran down the left, cut back inside at the by-line before flicking the ball over the desperate dive of Matt Jordan.
Although Portrush were caught cold after the restart it didn’t take long for them to kill the game and any hope of a North Down fight-back. Barry McMullan scored with a reverse from the centre of the circle and completed an impressive hat-trick with a close range finish.
James McCook also capped an impressive performance with another well taken finish. However, man of the match Andy Dalzell scored a further four goals, five in total, in a second half master class. He scored an impressive drive from the edge of the circle from a short corner, two impressive close range efforts and sealed his fifth goal of the game with the goal of the game, when he received the ball wide on the edge of the ‘D’ before spinning past three players and unleashed an unstoppable effort by the despairing dive of the North Down goalkeeper.
Impressive performances throughout the team, in particular Matt Jordan, Andy McConaghy and James McCook but the star of the show was stalwart Andy Dalzell. Portrush remain top of the table ahead of next week’s trip to face Antrim.
Portrush II: Matt Jordan, Richard McNabb, Tom Cartmill, Peter McMullan, Andrew McConaghy, John McMullan, Graeme Kerr, Craig Henry, James McCook, Barry McMullan, Andy Dalzell, Craig Hogg (C), Adam Holmes, Josh Hutchinson, Aaron Douglas
Man of the Match: Andy Dalzell