Cookstown V 4 Bangor IV 4
Hoping to end a run of two straight defeats and end the year on a high with a victory, Cookstown started brightly and were soon on the front foot with some quick sharp passing in midfield but unable to create any clear cut chances for the forward line.
Bangor were sitting deep and playing on the break and from one of these fast breaks they took the lead putting away a rebound after a good save Gillis.
From this set back Cookstown were straight back on the attack and won their first short corner of the day, which they converted by Ryan Johnston to even the match at 1-1. That goal settled Cookstown down and they started to attack in waves led by the midfield of Thom, McWhirter and Leonard trying to get the lead but all along the defence, marshalled by the brilliant Reilly kept the Bangor counter attacks at bay.
Five minutes before half time Cookstown took the lead when a quick attack from the back, through midfield lead to Alan Johnston scoring a contender for goal of the season which left the Bangor keeper no chance and the Reds 2-1 to the good at half time.
With captain Sanderson departing at half time due to work commitments, the Reds had to re-jig the defence but started the second half brightly and pushed for the goal that would give them much needed breathing room against a very motivated away side.
This goal eventfully arrived ten minutes into the second half when a dangerous ball into the Bangor box wasn’t dealt with and was despatched by McWhirter to make it 3-1. After that the Reds seemed to take their foot of the gas and Bangor soon punished a misunderstanding in defence by Cookstown to cut the lead to 3-2.
It was soon all level when a good passing move from the away side opened the Cookstown defence and a cool finish made it 3-3. By now it was all Bangor and an uncharacteristic mistake by Barnes let the away side in and scored with an accurate shot into the roof of the reds net to make it 4-3 to the away side.
Entering the last 10 minutes Cookstown were pushing hard for an equaliser and spent the whole time in the opposition half but only creating half chances.
With time nearly up, Thom made one last burst towards the circle and won a short corner and with the final whistle going just after it was awarded Cookstown knew it was now or never to get the draw and although the 1st attempt was saved by the keeper, Morrow was there to put away the rebound to draw the Reds level at 4-4.
Thanks to Brian Thom for umpiring.
Man of the Match: Wayne Reilly
Cookstown V: A. Gillis, W. Reilly, S. Otterson, N. Barnes, C. Sanderson, G. Leonard, M. McWhirter, G. Thom, A. Johnston, M. Smyth, P. Morrow, R. Johnston, S. Stewart, H. Acheson
North Down IV 4 Cookstown IV 3
The Fours continued their poor away form with a defeat in a game that they should have had wrapped up by half time with only themselves to blame for throwing it away.
The Reds started the first half brightly with with former goalkeepers-turned-midfielders Steven Stewart and Jamie Kirkpatrick supporting the attack causing mayhem in the North down dee.
Timmy Sloan grabbed the opening goal after a Stewart shot that North Down failed to clear which caused a goal mouth scramble with Sloan grabbing the chance to stick the ball in the back of the net.
Cookstown continued to push forward and they scored their second in quick succession with Callum Anderson setting Jamie Kirkpatrick up for reverse shot which was going wide only for a North down defender to deflect it into his own net though Kirkpatrick was quick to claim the goal as his own.
The opposition pulled one back after a dubious decision by the umpire awarding a short corner which Josh Anderson making his first appearance as a goalkeeper for the club did well to save but the opposition attacker was quickest to react and was able to bundle the ball over the line.
Feeling aggrieved by the umpires decision Cookstown attacked with all the more vigour and a crashed ball from Brian Simpson found Sloan at the back post who played the ball back across the goal for Jamie McWhirter to finish leaving the reds deservedly 3-1 up at half time.
After dominating the first half the Reds started the second half lacking focus and they soon paid for it with North Down pulling one back early in the proceedings. Cookstown were now struggling to get into the game and the frustration began to show with the team getting agitated with each other.
The opposition took full advantage of this scoring the equaliser and with neither team wanting to settle for a point both teams continued to attack. Stewart came closest for the Reds with a powerful dragflick however the keeper pulled of a great save to deny a winner it was instead North down who were able to grab a late winner in the dying seconds of the game.
In the end this was the result that the Reds deserved with an impressive first half but a dismal second half that they would like to forget leaving only themselves to blame.
Cookstown IV: J. Anderson, N. Ruddock, S. Nelson, G. Major, C. Millar, B. Simpson, J. Kirkpatrick, S. Stewart, J. McWhirter, T. Sloan, C. Anderson.
Man of the Match: Scott Nelson