Lisburn Distillery v PSNI (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 18th February 2023
Lisburn Distillery welcomed PSNI to New Grosvenor for the first time this season, the Whites went into this game on the back of three wins in four games and knowing that a further three points would put them 15 points clear of bottom spot.
Perhaps not surprisingly Barry Johnston went with the same Distillery side that beat Dollingstown at home last week and this game got off to a similar start. Johnny Angus sent a hopeful ball into the box in the 2nd minute and Lewis Higginson flicked the ball on with a header, which looped over the stranded PSNI goalkeeper, Alistair McVeigh, and into the back of the net and put the home side into an early lead.
After the early goal the Whites continued to see most of the ball but there was not much in the way of chances for either side, with just over 15 minutes played a Josh Lynch free kick was aimed towards Adam McCart but this time McVeigh managed to claw the ball away and the PSNI ’keeper was called into action again in the 24th minute to save a Higginson effort from just outside the box.
On the half hour mark the Whites entered the opposition penalty box again, some great work from Michael Gallagher out on the left saw him get past a couple of defenders but his cross was cleared, though only as far as Higginson but this time the midfielders effort was blocked by a defender.
In the last five minutes of the first half Glenn Taggart’s side did manage to get forward and forced a couple of corners in quick succession but these ultimately came to nothing, and it was the Whites who had the final effort of the half when Gallagher tried his luck from range after spotting McVeigh off his line but the ‘keeper recovered to hold the ball.
The half time whistle sounded with Higginson’s early goal keeping Distillery ahead but perhaps some nervousness in the air that despite controlling most of the ball they had not been able to make this count again during the opening 45.
Half Time: Lisburn Distillery 1-0 PSNI
The second half started with PSNI enjoying a spell on top but Ethan Carry in goals for the Whites was largely untested, though despite this it seemed like the next goal in the game was going to be a vital one.
Just before the hour mark the second goal did come and thankfully it did go the way of the home side. PSNI cleared the ball away from an earlier Distillery attack but Bobby Robinson managed to win the ball back inside the opposition half and sent the Whites off on the attack down the left, when the ball was crossed into the box Gallagher was on hand at the back post to double the lead.
Shortly after this Josh Doyle had a couple of opportunities to further add to the lead firstly another free kick from Lynch made its way to the number 10 on the right-hand side of the box but his powerful effort was blocked and moments later his backheeled effort after an earlier Gallagher effort was saved went wide.
The nerves were back in the 63rd minute when PSNI managed to pull a goal back, Distillery could not get the ball away from the box and when it fell to Ben Roy, he managed to control the ball and his shot goalwards deflected off Carry’s right-hand post and in.
Despite pulling the goal back PSNI continued to struggle to put the Distillery defence under too much pressure and it was the Whites who were having the better opportunities going forward. In the 66th minute some quick thinking by Lynch to play a free kick into the left hand channel towards Gallagher led to a Jonathan Newell effort from the edge of the box but this was blocked and five minutes later a Doyle cross from the left after some great work by the forward to keep the ball in play was just too far ahead of Gallagher.
Distillery did manage to add a third goal to their tally and hopefully put the game to bed with 15 minutes remaining, a Lynch corner was met by the head of McCart and McVeigh had no change of keeping the ball out and the home sides two goal advantage was restored.
With nine minutes left on the clock PSNI thought they had pulled a goal back again when a long-range effort swerved, and Carry could only parry the ball away, an attacker scored on the rebound, but the linesman raised his offside flag.
In the final minute of normal time substitute Pearse McVarnock had one last effort to add to the Distillery tally when his speculative effort from range looked like it was swerving goalwards, but McVeigh managed to push the ball away.
At full time Distillery players and fans were able to join in celebrating a fourth win in five games and hopefully this could put to bed any relegation worries with a similar result next week against Tobermore possibly even being enough to see the side move into the top half of the table.
Full Time: Lisburn Distillery 3-1 PSNI
Lisburn Distillery; Carry, Willis, Robinson, A. McCart, Angus, Lynch, Higginson, Newell, Gallagher, Doyle, Savage
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; Shearer (for Doyle, 73 mins), O. McCart (for Willis, 54 mins), McCleave, Shannon, Storey, McVarnock (for Robinson, 85 mins), Warnock (for Higginson, 85 mins)
Match report by Cameron Moore (@cameron2604)
David Hunter’s picture gallery from this game can be found @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAsJkp