Tobermore United v Lisburn Distillery (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 25th February 2023
Lisburn Distillery journeyed to Fortwilliam Park yesterday knowing that three points would move them ahead of opponents Tobermore and results elsewhere going in favour of the Whites could see them move into the top half of the table.
Barry Johnston made one change to the team from the 3-1 win against PSNI, Jonny Angus was replaced in the side by Odhran McCart.
The game started cagily with few real chances for either side in the opening moments, Mark Edgar put the ball over the bar after six minutes following a dangerous cross from the right, though the offside had already been raised against the Tobermore player, and Lewis Higginson shot off target for Distillery a minute later with a an effort from 25 yards.
In the 24th minute Distillery went on the attack with a good move ending with Jonathan Doyle crossing low towards Higginson from the left but a defender cut out the danger and three minutes later Bobby Robinson won the ball for the Whites down the left and played the ball to Doyle who again crossed from the left, this time Michael Gallagher got on the end of the cross but his close range effort was saved by United goalkeeper Morgan Moore and again the offside flag had been raised anyway.
Both sides continued to try to break the deadlock and in the 43rd minute Ethan Carry was called into action to prevent Tobermore from taking the lead when he had to push away a corner that looked for a moment like it was curling in directly and then with the last action of the half Higginson again tried his luck on goal when a pass towards Gallagher deflected into his path but his volley was blocked by a defender.
The first half ended with both sides having largely cancelled each other out so far and few clear cut opportunities for either side to score the opening goal of the game.
Half-Time: Tobermore United 0-0 Lisburn Distillery
The second half continued much the same as the first half with both sides trying to break the deadlock but struggling to find a way through the oppositions defence.
The first real sight of goal for either side came just past the hour mark when Distillery substitute Jourdan Shearer cut infield and let rip with an effort, but the ball flew across the face of goal. Four minutes later up the other end Daniel Barfoot had a powerful shot from the edge of the box, but this was blocked by Adam McCart.
Johnston’s side came the closest they had come to taking the lead in the 73rd minute when Gallagher and Shearer both attempted to head a Josh Lynch corner goalwards but the ball was cleared off the line by a Tobermore defender and three minutes later the Whites were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty when Shearer was upended inside the box, but the referee was unmoved.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 81st minute and it was the visitors who took the lead, a Lynch free kick was cleared but only as far as substitute Pearse McVarnock whose low first time shot found its way through the sea of players and ended up in the bottom corner much to the joy of the Distillery players and fans.
After this it was all about game management for the Whites and despite plenty of pressure from the home side the Distillery defence, marshalled by Adam McCart, stood strong and Carry in goals remained largely untested.
The full time whistle sounded, making it 15 points from the last six games for Distillery and the players celebrated what had certainly been a hard fought win that sees the side move into 7th place.
Full Time: Tobermore United 0-1 Lisburn Distillery
Lisburn Distillery; Carry, Willis, Robinson, A. McCart, O. McCart, Lynch, Higginson, Newell, Gallagher, Doyle, Savage
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; Shearer (for Higginson, 55 mins), C. Clougherty, Cope, Shannon, Storey (for Doyle, 90+2 mins), McVarnock (for Gallagher 76 mins), McCleave
Match report by Cameron Moore (@cameron2604)
Picture gallery from this game by David Hunter can be viewed at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAtzRM