Antrim Hockey Club XI started off this season’s campaign with a home match against a very sharp looking Portadown Second XI.
With the Portadown senior team having no game, the Seconds took full advantage to bolster their panel.
Tommy Monahan, the 2nd XI captain along with his vice captain, Stuart Kernaghan, set about reorganising his line-up to prevent the visitors from steam rolling a relatively youthful Antrim 2nd XI.
Antrim’s only answer was to try and mark tight and try to isolate the player on the ball and their hard work saw them grab the lead.
Tommy Monahan took an auto pass, cut to the bye-line and worked the ball in towards the goal before cutting the ball back towards the flick spot. Lyle Kane popped up and fired the ball in past the bemused keeper.
Minutes later Kernaghan picked off a loose pass and the ball was rapidly passed up field where Chris Wilson smashed the ball into the Portadown goal with a ferocious reverse stick strike.
A long pass into the Antrim D was picked up by a Portadown forward who showed great skill and composure to beat his marker, side step the keeper and coolly slot into the Antrim goal to leave the score at 2-1.
Antrim then upped their game and Chris Wilson managed to slip his marker and charge towards the Portadown goal. Wilson threw himself into the fray and managed to win the proverbial 50/50 challenge. The entire Marks Arena fell silent as the ball flew in below the keeper and in to the Portadown goal to give Antrim a 3-1 lead going into half time.
In the second half, Portadown the scored when a sloppy pass meant an Antrim player was caught in possession and when the ball was played forward the visitors won a penalty corner. Their slick corner routine saw the ball hammered into the bottom right hand corner to give Roe in goal no chance.
Antrim attacked with the Antrim youngsters working the ball into the Portadown D where Wilson scored with another strong strike.
Portadown the pushed the entire team up and forced another error to win a penalty corner. Again they blasted the ball in to bring the score to 4-3.
Antrim were beginning to tire but refused to capitulate. Unfortunately for Antrim one of their players was caught in possession and the ball was worked into the D before being cut back for a striker to blast the ball into goal.
Thanks to Andy Gleghorne and the young Portadown lad who both umpired in such a fair and professional manner. Congratulations to man of the match Chris Wilson on scoring his first hat-trick for the seconds. Special mention to all the Antrim youngsters who all put in great performances on Saturday. Captain and vice captain, Monahan and Kernaghan were over the moon with the work rate and skill shown by the Antrim young guns.
Antrim: Chris Roe, Neil McCullough, Stuart Kernaghan, Paul Whiteside, Neil Glasgow, Jack Morrison, Lyle Kane, Ryan McCrea, Chris Wilson, Tommy Monahan, Ethan Creighton