Match Report – Lisburn Distillery v Queens University (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League – Saturday 28th January 2023
After three away games on the bounce Lisburn Distillery returned to New Grosvenor on Saturday, with Queens University the visitors on this occasion.
Barry Johnston, hoping his side could build on a 2-1 win against Portstewart last time out, made two changes to his starting eleven; Odhran McCart and Bobby Robinson dropped out of the squad and were replaced by Carter Savage and Lewis Higginson.
The visitors started the game seeing most of the ball but there were few chances in front of goal for either side until Distillery won a free kick in a promising area after 15 minutes, Josh Lynch’s delivery found Adam McCart who headed goalwards, and Michael Gallagher nipped in to touch the ball home and score his first goal since joining earlier this month and give the Whites the lead.
But for Ethan Carry the two sides could have been level six minutes after the opening goal when a cross from the right found Queens captain Matthew Hughes but his shot from close range was superbly tipped onto the crossbar by the Whites captain.
Distillery could have doubled their lead after 23 minutes when Jourdan Shearer twisted and weaved past a Queens defender inside the box but his shot was blocked by ‘keeper Dean Smyth. Just a minute later and the two sides were level when another cross from the right took a slight deflection and the ball fell nicely into the path of Ciaran O’Hare who finished at the back post, despite a slight question of offside.
Just before the 30-minute mark Distillery thought they could have had a penalty when Gallagher was brought down inside the box by a defender, but the flag was already up for offside.
In the final 15 minutes of the opening half both goalkeepers were called into action, firstly Smyth had to hold a powerful Jonathan Newell shot from the edge of the box after a corner was not fully cleared and at the other end Carry was twice on hand to prevent Lorcan McIlroy from giving Queens the lead.
So the two sides went in level at the break with the Distillery faithful encouraged with the sides first half performance and hoping for more of the same after the break.
Half Time: Lisburn Distillery 1-1 Queens University
Distillery had an encouraging start to the second half, after three minutes of play Shearer went close when he cut infield and shot, Smyth was only able to palm the ball away but did lay claim to it before
Higginson was able to get to the rebound. Shearer was involved moments later when his cross from the left was just inches too far ahead of the diving Lynch.
After this both sides continued to huff and puff in their search for a winner but neither goalkeeper was really tested, until the 74th minute when Carry had to show good reflexes to claw the ball away from goal after a shot from inside the box took a deflection on its way to goal.
With just over ten minutes left on the clock Distillery regained the lead when a Lynch corner found Gallagher inside the six yard box and the number nine sent his header past Smyth for his second goal of the day.
Manager Johnston made some changes in the final ten minutes to shore things up and see the game throughand it seemed to work with Carry and the defence being largely untested in the final ten minutes and when the final whistle blew players, officials and supporters were able to celebrate two league wins in a row for the first time all season.
The win saw the Whites leapfrog Armagh and Banbridge into 9th place in the table and, perhaps more importantly, move ten points clear of bottom side PSNI.
Next up is a trip to Banbridge on Saturday inanother important game in the bottom half of the table.
Full Time: Lisburn Distillery 2-1 Queens University
Carry, Willis, McVarnock, Angus, McCart, Lynch, Newell, Gallagher, Shearer,
Lisburn Distillery substitutions;
Smyth, Breen (for Gallagher, 81 mins), Doyle (for McVarnock, 58
mins), Storey, Shannon, Patton, Clougherty (for Shearer, 90+1 mins)
Match report by Cameron Moore (@cameron2604)
David Hunter’s full picture gallery from this game can be viewed @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAqcPJ