Match Report – Bangor 0 v Lisburn Distillery 1 29/01/22
Bangor v Lisburn Distillery (Premier Intermediate League) – 29th January 2022
Lisburn Distillery made the journey to Clandeboye Park on Saturday to take on Lee Feeney’s Bangor side. The last time the Whites visited this ground it ended in a 2-1 County Antrim Shield defeat against Ards in October 2020 but for the last time we visited Clandeboye to face Bangor you have to go back to August 2016 when Johnny McCaw and Paul Young were on target in a 2-2 draw in our first league game in the Premier Intermediate League.
There was one change to the starting line-up that beat Belfast Celtic the previous week, Justin Grattan made his full debut at right back in place of Neil Dillon. Caolan Conlon, Ryan and Jackson and Ben Kenny were in line to potentially make their debuts from the bench.
The Whites had a bright start to the game and had the first shot on goal in the 2nd minute when Aaron Harris tried his luck from the edge of the box, but the ball was held by Bangor ‘keeper, Matthew Anderson.
A minute later Timmy Clarke received the ball out on the left after making a run forward and linking up with the midfield but his promising low cross into the danger area was deflected behind for a corner that was eventually cleared and soon after this Mikey Withers was put through on goal by Scott Brannigan but Anderson spread himself and stopped any effort on goal from the Distillery player.
The home side gradually began to gain a foothold in the game and almost took the lead in the 12th minute when a powerful header from a corner was blocked on the line by a well placed Timmy Clarke and Isaac Fletcher could not get his follow up header on target.
Just before the 20-minute mark it was the woodwork that came to Distillery’s rescue when another header, this time from a free kick, crashed against the crossbar, and again Fletcher could not get the follow up header on target.
In the 22nd minute a long-range free kick for the home side, taken by Reece Neale, was left by Whites ‘keeper Jonah Nicholl who perhaps thought it was going well off target, the ball curled and dipped in the air but thankfully clipped the top of the bar and went out for a goal kick.
The rest of the half passed with no further chances really for either team and the game was scoreless at the break. The Whites had tried to play some nice passing football at times in the opening 45 but it was the home side that had created the better chances to score, albeit mostly from set pieces.
Half-time: Bangor 0-0 Lisburn Distillery
The Distillery management opted to introduce Conlon for his debut at the interval with him coming on in place of Conan McAuley and lining up on the right-hand side of the Distillery front three.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half presented little in the way of chances created for either side but it was Bangor who were controlling most of the possession. Jonah Nicholl was called into action to push a long-range effort from substitute Dylan O’Kane over the bar just after the hour mark and the Whites survived another scare soon after when Harris had to be on hand to clear off the line from a corner for the second time during the game.
For all their control of possession the home side could not find a way through the resilient Distillery backline, and it was the Whites who got the only goal of the game with ten minutes left on the clock. Following a throw in inside the Whites half the Bangor attack broke down and the ball was cleared up field were Mick O’Hanlon ran onto the loose ball. The number seven picked the ball up a few yards into his own half and set off goalward, skipping past two Seasiders defenders en route, he made his way into the penalty box and finding himself with only Anderson to beat kept a cool head to slot the ball into the bottom corner and send the travelling support into raptures. The goal was O’Hanlon’s fifth goal of the season and his fourth in as many games.
The Seasiders continued to have most of the ball in the closing ten minutes of the game but the Whites backline, marshalled by the always reliable Joe Reid and Christian Irvine, refused to be breached clearing every cross that came into the box.
Eventually the final whistle blew and while they may have ridden their luck at times the Distillery players, management and supporters were able to celebrate a hard fought three points.
The win on Saturday was Distillery’s fourth on the bounce and makes it six wins in eight games since our Steel & Sons Cup semi-final defeat in November, with only one loss in that time. It was also the sides ninth clean sheet of the season.
Full-time: Bangor 0-1 Lisburn Distillery
Lisburn Distillery; Nicholl, Grattan, Clarke, Irvine, Reid, Sullivan, O’Hanlon, Harris ©, Brannigan, Withers, McAuley
Lisburn Distillery substitutes; Kenny, Getty, Jackson (for Grattan, 77 mins), McCaw, Morgan (for Brannigan, 65 mins), Conlon (for McAuley, 46 mins)