Portrush took on Downpatrick in the semi-final of the Sussex Cup at Deramore Park, on Sunday and what an excellent match of hockey it turned out to be!
Both teams started quite slowly and there were a limited number of clear cut chances for either team in the first 10 minutes. Portrush started to get a hold of the game but did not have any goals to show for it. Both Callum McKeeman and John Dillon had half chances but could not score. There were more chances for Brent Smith and Aaron Kerr but again the Downpatrick defence and goalkeeper were on hand to deny them.
With so much possession and chances in the first half, Portrush were disappointed to go in goalless at the break.
The second half continued in the same vein until Neil McMaster picked the ball up just outside the circle before unleashing a deadly shot into the top left corner to send the players mad.
Portrush could now relax and enjoy the game as the pressure had been lifted and they capitalised on this as they doubled their lead from a short corner as John Dillon scored a reverse stick shot to put the Port in a comfortable position.
After all the missed chances in the first half Portrush were looking to get more goals and James McCook was on hand to finish an excellent move up the left side and make it 3-0. Portrush maintained their control to the final whistle for what was a well deserved victory. They now have the final to look forward to on New Year’s Day against Ballynahinch, for what will be an exciting prospect.
There were some great performances from Leon Smith and John Dillon who battled hard all match and never gave up. Also Neil McMaster who got that all important first goal to lift the pressure and what a goal it was! However without doubt the best player by far was young Phillip Linton who had his best game in a Portrush shirt, with excellent tackles all day and fantastic attacking up the left wing.
Portrush would like to thank all the supporters who travelled up to watch and also their Coach David Price whose hard work is paying off with fantastic performances from the team week after week.
Portrush return to the league next week with a testing trip to Parkview but everyone will be hoping to keep their 100% record in the league going.