Match Report – 18/09/18 Cliftonville 5 v Lisburn Distillery 0 Co.Antrim Shield
18/09/18 – Cliftonville 5 v Lisburn Distillery 0 – County Antrim Shield First Round
For the second time this season Lisburn Distillery made the short journey to Solitude to take on Barry Gray’s Cliftonville side, this time we were making our return to the County Antrim Shield after a five year absence.
With one eye perhaps on Saturday’s league game against Armagh Matthew Ferguson, Aaron Harris, Michael O’Hanlon and Francis Dugan all started on the bench this time and they were replaced by Nick Beta, Johnny McCaw, Paul Young and James Wright.
It took the home side three minutes to get the first sniff of goal when Chris Curran received the ball from a throw in down the right hand side, the Reds wide man had got beyond the Whites defence and crossed to danger man Joe Gormley but the striker couldn’t get his header on target.
The Whites managed to get forward themselves a few minutes later when Nick Beta found Alan McMurtry on the right hand side, McMurtry cut infield held onto the ball a second longer than necessary and an opposition defender managed to snuff out the danger.
Distillery would have to make the most of these opportunities if they were to stand any chance in this game and the almost did just later after eight minutes. Good work down the left from Paul Young found us in the final third again, Young played the ball back to Lewis Harrison who crossed for Nick Beta. The Distillery striker rose to meet the ball but couldn’t direct his header away from Brian Neeson in the Cliftonville goal and the ‘keeper pushed the ball behind.
The home side, as expected, continued to control the game and should have taken the lead on two occasions, firstly when Curran and Gormley linked up again with the former crossing to the latter but once again the former Peterborough player will be disappointed he couldn’t work Whites ‘keeper Jonah Nicholl. Gormley was involved again in the 16th minute, this time a cross found him in the six yard box but much to the amazement of everyone in the ground he again failed to hit the target.
It was no surpise when after 21 minutes the home side broke the deadlock, Curran once again managed to get beyond the Distillery rearguard and cut back to former Distillery player Ryan Catney who fired a shot home off the underside of the bar.
Two minutes after taking the lead Cliftonville doubled their advantage, Jay Donnelly received the ball following a throw in and turned his defender and fired off a great strike into the bottom corner from 25 yards, the Whites chances of advancing in the competition were looking bleak.
After the second goal went in there was a fear of the floodgates opening but the Distillery defense dug in and managed to ensure the deficit did not increase before the half-time break, though Nicholl was called into action with some fine saves to deny Gormley, Donnelly and Conor McDonald.
Half-time: Cliftonville 2 Lisburn Distillery 0
Nicholl was in action again early in the second half when he tipped a shot from Jamie Harney onto the crossbar and then superbly blocked Gormley’s rebound effort.
After this the Whites began to put their hosts under some pressure when firstly Johnny McCaw tried to take advantage of Neeson taking his time over a backpass and the Alan McMurtry tried his luck from the edge of the area but Neeson was able to beat the ball away from goal.
Just when we were wondering if Distillery could manage to find a way back into the game the Reds effectively ended the match as a contest, they broke down the left hand side and half-time substitute Ross Lavery crossed to Gormley who this time made no mistake as he put the ball into the back of the net making it 3-0 in the 61st minute. Five minutes later three became four when having finally got his name on the scoresheet Gormley helped himself to a second, this time giving Nicholl no chance with a curling effort into the top right hand corner of the Distillery goal.
The last goal of the game came four minutes from time when Joe Gormley found himself through on goal with only Nicholl to beat, with his eyes on a hat-trick the Reds ace rounded the keeper but took the ball too far wide to shoot so squared the ball to his strike partner Ryan Curran who scored easily.
Distillery kept pushing right up until the death and went close to a consolation goal on a couple of occasions, firstly Alan McMurtry hit a volleyed effort just over the bar and substitute Matthew Ferguson tried to take advantage of a poor clearance from Neeson but was denied by a tackle from Harney in the 88th minute.
It wasn’t meant to be for the Whites then with the Reds running out convincing winner, perhaps had Beta scored with his early chance it could have been a different story but we’ll never know. We now move onto Saturday’s Premier Intermediate League match with Armagh.
Team lineup: Nicholl, Corry, Curran, Moore ©, Reid, Wright, McMurtry, Harrison, Beta, McCaw, Young.
Substitutions: Kennedy, Harris (on for Harrison, 64), Dugan (on for Young, 69), Ferguson (on for Beta, 63), O’Hanlon.
Match report by Cameron Moore, David Hunter’s picture gallery from this game can be found on our official Flickr page @ https://flic.kr/s/aHskJfHNe3