Late fightback saves Down

Co. Down Juniors 3

North Dublin SL 3

NORTH Dublin Schools and County Down treated the Rugby Avenue crowd to a six-goal thriller on matchday two at the NI Milk Cup.

County Down trailed 3-0 with just 20 minutes to play, but managed three late goals to take their first point of the competition.

Down manager Paul Ritchie made seven changes after Saturday’s narrow 2-1 defeat against holders Everton.

North Dublin went ahead against the run of play after 13 minutes. A hopeful throughball made its’ way into the heart of Down’s defence to Andrew Gorman, who powerfully dispatched past Jonathon Walsh.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Down’s Nicholas Turkington was teed up by Adam Salley. Turkington cut inside, but his shot was easily gathered by Lee Doyle.

Down conceded a second goal two minutes later when Shane Darcy tried an audacious free-kick from 40 yards. Keeper Walsh couldn’t keep it out, the ball slipping through his grasp in the wet conditions.

Ryan Noble-Walker, James Coffey and keeper Conor Hazard were introduced at the break as Down looked to claw back the deficit.

Substitute Matthew Dempster brought a fine save from Doyle early in the second half. That worked to spur on North Dublin who went further in front. Sean Doyle’s precision cross from the right found Gorman, who finished in style.

County Down responded with a goal of their own midway through the second period. Doyle failed to hold the ball at the near post leaving Turkington with the simplest of tap-ins.

With three minutes remaining, Adam Salley smashed the North Dublin bar with a driven shot from the edge of the area. Down sensed a second goal.

Striker Michael Johnston set up a grandstand finish moments later, tucking home a loose ball from 12 yards.

County Down then won a penalty deep into stoppage time when Adam Clarke handled inside the box. Nicholas Turkington stepped up and sent Doyle the wrong way for his second goal of the game.

Team: Walsh, McAnespie, Byers, Brownlee, Gray, Tate, McGovern, Ward, Turkington, Johnston, Salley. Subs: Hazard, Martyn, Noble-Walker, Power, Dempster, Drylie, Coffey.