SOUTH ANTRIM IV 2 PORTRUSH II 3
Portrush travelled away to South Antrim full of confidence from their recent good form.
The much changed line up was boosted by the evergreen Eoin Sayers and Marty Huey, who added vital experience in a tough game. The team also welcomed back Scott Horner and Aaron Douglas for their 1stgame this season.
Portrush began on the back foot with South Antrim playing some excellent hockey and creating some great chances at will. They deservedly took the lead midway through the 1sthalf from close range after an initial shot on goal was blocked.
Despite a few counter-attacks, the final pass was often lacking from the Portrush forward line and South Antrim kept their momentum in the game.
Portrush continued to weather the storm for the remainder of the half with Matt Jordan fortunate not to concede a flick with a late challenge in his defensive circle.
The half time interval saw a change in formation to counteract South Antrim’s dominance in the game. This gave Portrush a foothold in the game and they secured an equaliser from Andrew Dalzell’s tap in - after Scott Horner’s initial effort hit the post.
Immediately from the restart, Portrush conceded a soft goal through a lack of concentration following a quick break down the right hand side from South Antrim.
Portrush, however, continued to battle hard and were able to win a short corner with good work from Aaron Douglas. Peter McMullan was able to find the bottom right corner from an excellently executed flick.
During the last 15 minutes, most teams would have settled for an away point but Portrush continued to attack. Quick thinking by the midfield from a free hit meant the ball landed on Andrew Dalzell’s stick just inside the oppositions circle, he turned strong, and finished emphatically with a shot across the goalkeeper to score the winner just inside the far post.
During the final seven minutes, a monumental effort from all players on the Portrush team meant South Antrim were limited to half chances, with Marty Huey and Peter McMullan particularly solid at the back, and Graeme Kerr once again excelling in his midfield/defensive role late in the game. Portrush were able to close out a hard fought and, at times, a heated game.
Andrew Dalzell picked up the Portrush man of the match vote following his impressive second half performance with two well-taken goals and his vocal leadership when the game threatened to slip away.
Portrush II: Matt Jordan, Tom Cartmill, Marty Huey, Peter McMullan, John McMullan, Aaron Douglas, Graeme Kerr, Eoin Sayers, Craig Henry, Andy Dalzell, Barry McMullan, Scott Horner, Craig Hogg (C).
Man of the Match: Andy Dalzell