Lisburn Distillery v Limavady United (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 4th March 2023
With the race for a top six finish hotting up in the Premier Intermediate League Lisburn Distillery welcomed Limavady United to New Grosvenor on Saturday knowing that victory could well have moved them into the top half of the table.
As it was however they soon found themselves on the back foot in this game with the visitors moving into the lead as early as the first minute of play as a basic through ball caught the home defence apparently still in the changing rooms with Alex Pomeroy beating the home offside trap before calmly slotting past the advancing Whites goalkeeper Ethan Carry in the Distillery net.
After this both sides settled into the game with defences well on top although the Whites did have a loud shout for a penalty on 20 minutes which was waved away by the referee with Jake Willis’ effort directly afterwards going into the side netting.
Distillery striker Johnny Doyle then had a couple of decent headed opportunities but on both occasions his contact on the ball was too gentle and both efforts easily gather by visiting ‘keeper Richard Purcell.
One-nil down then at the break and no doubt whatever was said in the changing rooms at half time had an impact as a much improved and more aggressive second half followed for the hosts.
That said Limavady showed why they are in the top section of the table with a very solid defensive performance time after time thwarting the Distillery attack and indeed it could very easily have been the visitors who were next to score only for a super save on 62 minutes from home custodian Carry who spread himself wide to block a goalward effort as the visitors broke at speed from a Distillery attack.
Distillery striker Mick Gallagher has been well marshaled all day but on 69 minutes he managed to break the shackles finding space in the Limavady penalty area but, unusually for him, his effort was well over the top of the visitors cross bar.
With only eight minutes remaining it looked like the Whites were destined to suffer defeat in this one but then a lifeline, or so it seemed. Josh Lynch had raced into the box where he was caught by a raised foot and referee Stewart Long had no hesitation in awarding the home side a penalty. Lynch picked himself up, placed the ball on the spot but, as the home crowd waited to celebrate, the normally reliable midfielder somehow drove the ball high and wide of the goal a bit reminiscent of Harry Kane at the recent world cup.
To their credit the hosts continued to press forward winning several corners in the dying stages of the game although the visitors did have a glorious unconverted chance by Pomeroy with only minutes left to play.
Then, with the game in the second minute of injury time, a second lifeline for the home side as they were awarded a second penalty following a raised hand in the penalty area as the visitors battled hard to defend their lead from a string of Distillery attacks. Whites ‘keeper Carry charged up the pitch and quickly grabbed the ball to ensure his team mates knew he would be taking it – a decision which proved fully justified as his powerful spot kick gave Purcell no chance in the Limavady goal.
Carry wheeled away to celebrate with the home support, the final whistle was then sounded and the game had ended as a draw. Yes, Limavady will have been disappointed not to holds on at the end however a draw was definitely a fair result on the day.
Full time: Lisburn Distillery 1 v Limavady United 1
LDFC Line up: Carry, Willis, Robinson, A.McCart, O.McCart, Lynch, Newell, Gallagher, Doyle, Shearer, Savage
Subs: Higginson (for Robinson 74 mins), Angus (for Willis 82 mins), McVarnock (for Doyle 65 mins), C.Clougherty,. Cope, Storey, Warnock