SOUTH ANTRIM 2 PORTRUSH 1
Saturday saw Portrush travel to Lisburn to play South Antrim in the second game of the Linden Cup group stages.
Portrush came into the game as underdogs, against the likely contenders for the Senior One league title.
As the game commenced Portrush found themselves in good control of the ball. Both teams where evenly matched, attacking and pressing the oppositions’ defence.
Composed play from the defence saw the ball worked into the midfield where Leon Smith was found at the edge of South Antrim’s circle and scored the first goal of the game for Portrush.
Portrush threw everything they had at the South Antrim squad with skill through the middle, speed up the wings and strength in defence in what was an impressive performance which proved the nature of a very entertaining and thrilling game of hockey from both sides.
However, as the first half progressed, the South Antrim forwards soon proved their calibre and gained a number of short corners which really put pressure on the Portrush defence and from which they eventually equalised.
As the break came, Portrush took the opportunity to regroup and compose themselves to get back at the South Antrim squad and try take the game for the win.
As the second half commenced both teams held the ball well and Portrush played as a team, working together to try grind down the South Antrim defence.
However, the North Antrim side couldn’t keep up the pressure, with tiredness and fatigue taking their toll on Portrush, South Antrim took advantage earning more short corners and having more chances at the Portrush goal. From one such set piece, South Antrim took the lead to make it 2-1.
Despite going from being the leaders to the losers, Portrush didn’t give up, The Ports where not intimidated by the better equipped South Antrim squad and Portrush still had good spells of the game as it finished 2-1.
Overall it was a positive performance by Portrush to compete with such a good team as South Antrim, but work is still required to be done. Player discipline was lacking as shown with two players getting cards. Yet again their were questions over match fitness as towards the end of the game the team seemed to flag.
Some work is also needed in gaining attacking corners as well as preventing short corners in our own circle as Portrush gave away many yet didn’t gain a single short corner on the day.
With three weeks until the first league game, Portrush will work hard on improvements so in the future more games can be won and better teams defeated.
Portrush: Gordon McAlister,Ryan Smith, Brent smith, Neil McMaster, Philip Linton, Leon smith, Andrew Christie, Aaron Kerr, Callum McKeeman, Greame Christie, Barry Mcmullan, Richard McNabb, Andrew McConaghy, Lewis Greene
MOTM:- Leon Smith