Portrush came in second best against Bangor Hockey Club in Senior League One.
Portrush were unaware of what kind of squad the Seasiders would bring but nevertheless the North Antrim team approached the game as a chance to gain more points and secure their position on the table.
From the start of the match there wasn’t any difference between the two teams with Portrush responding well to as Bangor attacks. The Ports were more patient and composed throughout the early parts of the first half and it wasn’t long before Portrush had their turn attacking the Bangor defence. On countless occasions Portrush came close to taking the lead as the forwards played more strategically with the ball and were able to fire away more chances.
As the first half drew on spectators witnessed an intense game with such a high pace of play, Portrush continued to hold good possession on the ball and threatened the Bangor side. The Portrush midfield played a vital role in the game with Leon Smith’s constant work throughout the match, also with young Andrew Christie controlling the game as sweeper benefited the Portrush side.
As the first half began to reach its last minutes Bangor had Portrush on the back foot however on multiple occasions centre back Brent Smith prevented them making any headway.
Unfortunately for Portrush in the last minute of the half the more experienced Bangor forwards were able to win a short corner and in another turn of bad luck from the short corner the ball struck a Portrush player on the line. Bangor were then awarded a penalty flick. A tremendous flick was met by keeper Matt Jordan’s quick reactions but unfortunately the ball still found its way into the net and at the end of the first half Bangor had taken the lead at 1-0.
As the second half commenced Portrush again faced pressure from the Bangor strikers but nothing was getting through, especially on the left side where Richard McNabb made life difficult for the Bangor strikers. Throughout the second half Portrush again came close, having many chances with John Dillon and Aaron Kerr testing the keeper but the equaliser just couldn’t be found.
Later in the half as the game started to slow down as tiredness began to have its affect on both squads. Nevertheless Portrush fought on attacking the Bangor defence, playing a great standard of hockey, it seemed like only a matter of time until the equaliser was found but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Bangor were able to take advantage of the high line Portrush was playing and from a fast counter attack Bangor were able to score their second making it 2-0.
Though what seemed to be a deflated and heartbroken Portrush side didn’t stand down and continued to put the Bangor side under pressure, winning multiple short corners and having chances on goal but the Bangor net just couldn’t be found, and to the disappointment of the squad Bangor broke through again, as their striker ran through their attack was broke up well and a great save from Matt Jordan kept the Ports hopes alive, but from the save a Bangor striker was able to obtain the ball to rebound for their third goal making it 3-0.
Portrush responded with great morale sticking together as a squad, but unfortunately it wasn’t long before Bangor were able to find their fourth, which came from good passing play throughout the Bangor side to work their way up the pitch into the Portrush circle making it 4-0.
From the whistle, Portrush weren’t going to let such a scoreline reflect such a close game and it wasn’t long before Portrush hit back with Neil McMaster at the top of the Bangor circle who found Aaron Kerr, with an absolutely amazing shot found the top of the net in which the Bangor keeper had no chance, making it 4-1.
Portrush continued to try salvage something from the game, so after the Bangor keeper was sent off, a Bangor player wasn’t found outside the D, but another goal couldn’t be found and at the final whistle the game ended 4-1 to the visitors.
Another promising game for Portrush despite the scoreline, some great performances again throughout the squad with Brent Smith and Richard McNabb having good games. Portrush would also like to thank the supporters who came and cheered on the Ports.
This week Portrush will travel to Queen’s University HC in which will be the the start of another cup run for Portrush
Portrush: Matt Jordan, Neil McMaster (c), Ryan Smith, Brent Smith, Richard McNabb, Andrew Christie, Callum McKeeman, Leon Smith, Graeme Christie, Aaron Kerr, John Dillon, Philip Linton, Craig Henry, Scott Horner, Barry Mcmullan
MOTM: Brent Smith