Match Report: Dollingstown (A)
Dollingstown v Lisburn Distillery (Premier Intermediate League) Tuesday 17th August 2021
Johnny Clapham’s Lisburn Distillery side made the trip to Planters Park to face Dollingstown in their first Premier Intermediate League (PIL) game since March 2020.
It was the second PIL campaign in a row that the Whites faced The Dollybirds to kick off the campaign, last time Stephen Hatfield’s side won 1-0 thanks to a Kevin Braniff goal.
In terms of team news there was just the one change in personnel from the team that beat Newcastle at the weekend with Scott Brannigan starting in midfield in place of Caoelain Young, Lewis Harrison was moved out into a wide midfield role and Nick Napier started the game further forward. On the bench was the returning Johnny McCaw and potential debutants Justin Grattan and Corey Pollock.
The Whites started the game strongly and within the first minute of the game Paul Young went down inside the penalty box after chasing down a loose ball with opposition captain, Jake Redpath, there were some shouts for a penalty but the referee was unmoved, in all fairness it would have been a very harsh decision.
Young was very active in the opening 10 minutes of the game, firstly he missed the target following a cross from Harrison, though the offside flag had been raised anyway, and then he was played in towards goal after some good link up play Napier and Brannigan but unfortunately the angle was against the Whites player and he could only hit his effort straight at the home side ‘keeper, Gareth Buchanan.
There was another appeal in the Dollingstown box after 16 minutes with Young again going down after tangling with an opposition defender, this time the referee did blow his whistle but awarded a foul against the Whites striker. Whilst again the penalty would have been a soft decision, so too was the free kick that was awarded.
The home side had their first effort on goal after 19 minutes when Daniel Gordon missed the target after cutting in from the right but the same player opened the scoring just a minute later when Stephen Uprichard’s side countered after a Distillery attack broke down, Gordon managed to get himself beyond the Whites defence and calmly slotted the ball past Jonah Nicholl.
Clapham’s side responded well to going a goal down and in the 23rd minute Christian Irvine headed goalwards from a corner but unfortunately the defender couldn’t quite connect fully with the ball and a defender blocked the effort, the rebound did fall at the feet of Chris Getty but the big defender couldn’t quite get his feet sorted to shoot and eventually the referee awarded a free kick in favour of the home side for a foul somewhere in the melee.
A well worked Distillery thrown just after the half hour mark put Napier through in goal but his path was eventually blocked by a combination of a recovering defender and Buchanan.
The half-time whistle blew with the Whites still a goal down but having been the better side for much of the opening period, albeit having imposed minimal threat on the opposition goal.
Half-time: Dollingstown 1-0 Lisburn Distillery
The second half started much the way the first half had went, with away side having most of the possession but struggling to find a way through the home side’s rearguard.
Nick Napier did manage to test Buchanan eight minutes after the break with a curling effort from the right hand corner of the box but the Dollingstown stopper gathered comfortably at his near post and
a couple of minutes later Timmy Clarke delivered what looked like a promising cross into the box but once again it was too close to Buchanan who laid claim to the ball.
There was a let off for Distillery in the 58th minute when the defence dropped off and the ball came to Matthew Taylor on the edge of the box but he hit his effort comfortably over the crossbar.
It was the home side however who scored the second goal of the game and it came through former Distillery striker, Gary Liggett, who was able to capitalise after the Whites couldn’t fully clear a Dollingstown free kick.
The rest of the game continued with the Whites having much of the ball but the Dollingstown defence held firm and were content enough to allow Clapham’s side to have possession in the middle of the pitch.
To perhaps sum the game up a Napier shot across goal in the 84th minute that was pushed away by Buchanan marked perhaps the first and only time in the game that the Dollingstown keeper was seriously tested.
The final whistle blew and ended what had been a frustrating night for the Whites, in which we did have spells of the game where we were on top but ultimately couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Dollingstown defence. We now look ahead to Saturday’s game, away to Comber Rec, in the 2nd round of the Steel & Sons Cup.
Full-time: Dollingstown 2-0 Lisburn Distillery