04th Feb 2023 – Match report – Banbridge Town 3 v Lisburn Distillery 2
After victories in their last two games Lisburn Distillery went into this game optimistic that they could make it three in a row albeit at a ground where for some reason they really struggle to win.
The game itself had started pretty evenly however the visitors were soon in the ascendancy with early chances falling to Michael Gallagher and Johnny Angus however neither could make them count. These were followed by some great work on 13 minutes by the highly impressive Jourdan Shearer who picked up the ball just inside the Banbridge half and proceeded to drive towards goal only to see his effort blocked on the goal line after home ‘keeper Lewis Hunter had spilt his initial goal bound effort.
Banbridge were struggling to get out of their own half at this stage however totally against the run of play it was they who took the lead on 19 minutes as Darren McGrath picked out Michael McCavitt and he kept a cool head slotting into the corner of the Distillery goal from the edge of the 18 yard area giving visiting ‘keeper Ethan Carry no chance.
Distillery, to their credit, refused to lie down and were soon level once again as a sublime free kick from Josh Lynch found Shearer deep in the home penalty box and his powerful header gave the home ‘keeper no chance.
All square then at the break but Distillery will have left the pitch delighted with what was without doubt one of their most positive performances of the season.
Doubtless the Whites game plan for the second half would have been more of the same however those hopes were undone as early as the 47th minute as Aaron Smyth lost possession on the edge of the Distillery penalty area and the hosts made sure they took full advantage of this as McCavitt drove goalwards before teeing up Jake Gorman who had a simple tap in from four yards out.
Earlier on in this season conceding goals like this would have saw the Whites collapse however this is now a very much a different Distillery team in recent weeks and it was no surprise that they leveled once again on 57 minutes. Great work by Gallagher had won a corner from a seemingly lost cause and when the ball eventually came in Johnny Newell rose above the home defence to head towards the goal. Gallagher stuck out a leg and although it’s debatable if he actually touched the ball it did end off in the back of the net and the diminutive forward was quick to claim he got a touch. Either way the scores were level at 2-2 and very much game on.
Chances ebbed and flowed after this for both sides but then on 93 minutes, just when it looked like Distillery were going to be going home with a thoroughly deserved point disaster struck. Banbridge keeper Hunter struck a long ball into the Distillery danger zone where it was flicked on by McCavitt into the path of Niall Cassidy and as the Distillery defence stood static he made no mistake from 12 yards out.
After such a positive display from Distillery they were gutted to be going some with nothing to show for all of their efforts leaving it to manager Barry Johnston to sum up by declaring “There is genuine hurt in the changing rooms … we’ll get back to the training ground on Tuesday, we’ll regroup and hopefully get a positive result next week.
Distillery Team: Carry, Willis, McVarnock, Smyth, Angus, Lynch, Higginson, Newell, Gallagher, Shearer, Savage
Subs: Patton, Robinson (for Willis), Cope (for Newell), Shannon (for Higginson), Clougherty (for Gallagher)
David Hunter’s picture gallery from this game can be found @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAqXyv