Match Report – 051019 Larne Tech 2 v Lisburn Distillery 2 (Larne Tech win on pens)
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STEEL & SONS CUP FOURTH ROUND
Larne Tech Old Old Boys 2 – Lisburn Distillery 2 – Larne Tech win on pens
Lisburn Distillery’s focus remained on the cups on Saturday as they made the trip to Larne for the second time this season, this time to take on Larne Tech Old Boy’s in the Steel and Sons Cup fourth round.
Manager Stephen Hatfield made some changes from the team that had beaten Strabane the previous week in the Irish Cup as Sean McIlhone, Kevin Braniff, Andrew Long and Johnny McCaw made way for Jonah Nicholl, Richard Nesbitt, James Wright and Michael O’Hanlon. Aaron Harris, Timothy Clarke and Daire Rooney also returned to the squad, taking their places on the bench.
It was the Whites who had the first chance of the game in the 2nd minute as Nesbitt played a cross-field ball from the right finding Mikey Withers who crossed to Nick Beta. There were appeals from the home side that the Distillery striker may have been strayed offside but the referee didn’t blow the whistle, nevertheless Beta flashed his shot just inches wide of Brendan Quinn’s right hand post.
There wasn’t long to wait for the first goal as it arrived just three minutes later, unfortunately for Distillery it went the way of the home side. Sean Ward crossed from the left and found former Larne striker Paul Maguire, who had all the space he needed to head home unchallenged.
The Whites set about trying to find an equaliser and had a further sight of goal in the 7th minute when Withers won a free kick out on the left, O’Hanlon delivered and found Mark Stewart but the centre back’s header went just over the bar.
There was a let off for Hatfield’s side in the 22nd minute when after winning the ball back in their half, Tech went on the counter attack, ending with Ward crossing this time to Niall McAllister but the Tech skipper couldn’t control the ball and it trickled wide of the goal.
Beta had another sight at goal in the 24th when he got on the end of a pass from Wright but found his way to goal blocked by defender Matthew Devine and the resulting corner was cleared after Chris Getty tried to force a header goalwards. The Whites bad luck in front of goal continued as first Nesbitt and then Beta had opportunities to shoot but the ball just didn’t fall quite right for them and the chances were lost.
Both sides had another chance apiece before half-time with McAllister fist being denied by Nicholl for the home side and O’Hanlon putting a free kick wide of goal.
The half-time whistle went with Larne Tech still holding their 1-0 win, Distillery had not been without their opportunities but a huge improvement would be needed for the second half.
Half-time: Larne Tech OB 1 Lisburn Distillery 0
The second half started and the Whites went on the attack from the off with Withers going on a run down the left and playing in Beta but again he couldn’t get his shot on target. Moments later McAllister tried his luck up the other end but his hooked effort from a Matthew Hyslop cross also failed to trouble Nicholl.
There was then a period of time with little of any goalmouth action to note but if truth be told if anyone looked the most likely to score it was the home team. In the 64th minute Distillery fans thought they had equalised when Beta’s shot on goal was saved by Quinn and Nesbitt looked set to pounce on the loose ball but it was cleared by a Tech defender just in the nick of time.
With just over 20 minutes remaining Hatfield made a double substitution with Beta and Wright making way for Rooney and Harris.
The substitution worked a treat as in the 76th minute Distillery had their equaliser as Rooney fired in a great strike off the woodwork and four minutes later the game was turned completely on its head as a run from Rooney down the right ended with him firing another strike past Quinn to give Distillery the lead with ten minutes remaining.
If anything though the Distillery goals seemed to rejuvenate the home side and they began to put the Whites under plenty of pressure and equalised in the 84th minute when Nicholl couldn’t quite lay claim to a cross from the right and substitute Ryan Kane had the easy task of putting the ball home.
There was one further chance in injury time for Larne to find the winner when following a Distillery corner the home side went on the counter and Kane found himself with only Nicholl to beat but the Whites keeper stood tall to block the shot and held it at the second attempt.
Extra time it was with ten minutes to be played each way.
End of 90 minutes: Larne Tech OB 2 Lisburn Distillery 2
The first period of extra time was largely dominated by the home side, at least in terms of chances as Kane had two opportunities in as many minutes from the start, the first chance going over from a Craig Todd cross and the second being a header palmed away by Nicholl.
Later in the half Nicholl was called upon to make three saves in quick succession from the attacking trio of Maguire, Kane and McAllister.
There were few chances of any note in the second period of extra time as both teams seemed to settle for the lotto of a penalty shootout.
In the shootout both sides converted their first five penalties with Barry Moore, Anthony Byrne, Mikey Withers, Mark Stewart and Aaron Harris converting for the Whites to send it into sudden death. Unfortunately Chris Getty, Daire Rooney and Richie Nesbitt were unable to convert their penalties and despite Nicholl keeping hopes alive with two saves in the shootout he couldn’t make it a hat-trick and it was the home side that march into the quarter-finals to face St. James’ Swifts. For Hatfield and his players, attention turns back to the Premier Intermediate League and an away game against Banbridge Town on Saturday.
LDFC Line up: Nicholl, Byrne, Moore, McAlea, Stewart, Getty, O’Hanlon, Beta, Nesbitt, Withers, Wright Subs: Clarke, Harris (for Beta), McCaw (for Wright), Young, Rooney (for McAlea)
Match report by Cameron Moore
David Hunter’s picture gallery from this game can be found on Flickr @ https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHxUoCv