Lisburn Distillery v Glentoran IIs (Intermediate Cup 4th Round) – Saturday 19th February 2022
Lisburn Distillery had a break from league action on Saturday as attention turned to the Intermediate Cup and standing between the New Grosvenor side and a place in the quarter-finals was Glentoran IIs.
The Whites made some changes to the side that comfortably beat Moyola the weekend before, Brendan Bennett is cup-tied so dropped out of the squad and Joe Reid was suspended, meaning Justin Grattan returned to the starting line-up and Ryan Jackson made his full debut. Manager, Johnny Clapham, also opted to start with Corey Pollock in goals with regular ‘keeper, Jonah Nicholl, starting this one on the bench.
The Whites enjoyed a bright start to the game winning a corner as early as the opening minute of play, but the Glens were able to defend this and two minutes later Mick O’Hanlon played a great pass through to Mikey Withers who beat the offside trap but his shot across goal went wide of the ‘keepers left hand post.
The Glentoran ‘keeper, Kai Beck, was the first to be called into action when he did well to hold a powerful shot on the turn from Christian Irvine after five minutes and a minute later Withers was involved again down the left with a promising run but the cross was cleared back out to the left were Timmy Clarke took a second bite at the cherry but his cross was just inches too high for Conan McAuley at the back post.
Despite the fact that the Whites were controlling much of the possession some lapses in concentration and carelessness on the ball in their own half did present the visitors with a few opportunities of their own but at different times Pollock, the woodwork and some wayward shooting were able to keep them at bay.
In the 28th minute Jackson won a free-kick in a promising area about 20 yards from goal and O’Hanlon tried his luck but once again Beck was equal to it and managed to hold the ball and set the Glens off on the attack, when the ball eventually made its way into the penalty area Grattan attempted to clear the danger but the ball was taken out of his reach and he could only catch the Glens attacker with the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Jordan Jenkins stepped up and fired the spot kick straight down the middle and, with Pollock diving to his right, gave the visitors the lead.
The Whites huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half but could not find an equaliser and may have considered themselves slightly unlucky to be behind at the interval but to get back into the game they would need to find a way to starting putting the young Glens backline and ‘keeper under more pressure.
Half-time: Lisburn Distillery 0-1 Glentoran IIs
The opening 15 minutes of the second half were much the same as the first, the Whites were controlling much of the ball but it rarely if ever in that period made its way into the danger area and it was beginning to look as though the score would remain as it was.
However, just after the hour mark Distillery won a flurry of corners in quick succession which presented an opportunity to bring the big men up from the back and get the ball into the penalty box. The Glens dealt with most of these corners with relative ease until the 68th minute when O’Hanlon sent an inviting cross to the back post where Whites captain Aaron Harris rose highest to head the ball out of reach of Beck and into the back of the net for the equaliser.
Buoyed on by the equaliser it was now Distillery who were going in search for the winner and in the 81st minute the home side managed to turn the game on its head. This time goalscorer turned provider as Harris collected the ball from a throw in on the right and moved infield, he played a fine pass through to O’Hanlon whose first tough took him away from his marker and allowed him to fire an exquisite shot into the corner of the goal. Another fine strike for the player currently enjoying a rich vein of form in front of goal.
Many may have thought this would be the winner but the young Glens side, to their credit, had other thoughts and managed to level the game up again just two minutes later. A high ball went into the Distillery box and the Whites defence and ‘keeper could not clear the danger and Jenkins was able to take advantage of this to score his second and level things up again with seven minutes on the clock.
Neither side particularly fancied extra-time with both intent on going for the win in normal time but it was Johnny Clapham’s Distillery who would score again with five minutes left to play. Jackson, who had impressed on his debut, managed to get the ball in a promising area out on the right but soon found himself surrounded by defenders. He played the ball out further wide to Grattan who had made a supporting run down the right and the full-back played a pin-point cross into the box right onto the head of O’Hanlon who headed the ball home and much to the joy of the home fans put Distillery back in front.
In the closing minutes of the game the Glens threw everything at finding an equaliser to force extra-time, but the Distillery defence dug deep and when the final whistle blew the joy on the players and managers faces was clear to see. Distillery now have a second quarter-final of the season to look forward to but before that attention turns back to the league with another home game against Tobermore on Saturday.
Full-time: Lisburn Distillery 3-2 Glentoran IIs
Lisburn Distillery; Pollock, Dillon, Clarke, Irvine, Grattan, Sullivan, O’Hanlon, Harris ©, McAuley, Jackson, Withers
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; Jonah Nicholl, Scott Brannigan, Caoelain Young (for McAuley, 57 mins), Irvine, Lundy (for Sullivan, 81 mins)