Tobermore United v Lisburn Distillery (Premier Intermediate League) – Sat 18th December 2021
The last game of 2021 saw Lisburn Distillery on their travels to face Tobermore United, it was over two years since we last visited Fortwilliam Park and on that occasion Mikey Withers scored the only goal of the game with a rare header to seal the points for the Whites.
There were two changes to the Distillery starting line-up from the previous weeks league game against Moyola, Timmy Clarke returned to the side in place of Barry Moore and Conan McAuley replaced Caoelain Young to make his full debut. Jonah Nicholl was also making his 100th appearance in a Distillery shirt in between the posts.
The home side saw plenty of the ball in the opening seconds of the match and looked like they could cut the Distillery defence open but there were no threats on goal and the visitors soon began to take control of the game. Firstly, in the 3rd minute Mick O’Hanlon saw the first effort on goal of the game blocked by a defender and a minute later Joe Reid released Withers down the left but the wingers cross failed to beat the first defender.
With just less than 10 minutes played Stephen Sullivan did well to win possession back in the middle of the pitch and played a pass through to O’Hanlon but after beating his defender the attacker could only hit his shot straight at ‘keeper, Lukasz Bednarz.
The first goal of the game did come in the 15th minute for Distillery when an attempted Tobermore clearance went straight to O’Hanlon who threaded the ball through to Withers with the number ten’s effort from just inside the box striking the post before crossing the line.
Just two minutes later and it was 2-0, this time two United defenders attempted but failed to clear a Neil Dillon pass forward and Lewis Higginson was able to take full advantage to double the Distillery lead.
It was almost 3-0 with just over 20 minutes played when Christian Irvine and a home defender both met an O’Hanlon corner, but the ball clipped off the bar and went out for another corner which came to nothing, but the third goal would soon follow with 24 minutes on the clock. Higginson won a loose ball back in the Tobermore half and immediately passed to O’Hanlon on the right who after a great run cut infield and played a precise pass to Withers who finished past Bednarz with his right foot.
Bednarz was called into action twice to prevent a fourth goal, first he unconvincingly stopped a Withers shot from range and then moments later showed stronger hands to deny Higginson his second goal of the game. At the other end Nicholl had to be alert to save a rare Tobermore effort on goal from range, pushing the ball over the bar.
The Whites did add another goal to their tally before the break, this time Withers turned provider as after running onto a pass from Clarke he crossed over Bednarz to O’Hanlon who had the simple task of nodding the ball home and ending a great half for the Whites.
Half-time: Tobermore United 0-4 Lisburn Distillery
Tobermore started the second half determined to reduce the deficit and almost did just that in the 53rd minute when a header from a corner was stopped on the line by a combination of Timmy Clarke and the crossbar before Nicholl was able to gather the ball.
After this it looked like Distillery would be more likely to add to their lead when an O’Hanlon free kick took a deflection and Bednarz had to be on his toes to parry the ball away.
Sullivan and Aaron Harris saw their efforts on goal denied by the woodwork and McAuley, who had impressed on his full debut, saw an effort go just inches wide of the post.
Distillery made a number of changes throughout the half with Johnny McCaw, Scott Brannigan, Chris Getty, Paul Young and debutant James Morgan all coming off the bench but there would be no further goals with Brannigan having the final effort on goal of the game only to once again be frustrated by the woodwork.
Eventually the referee called time on the final game of 2021 with another three points for the Whites and a fourth clean sheet in five league games.
Full-time: Tobermore United 4-0 Lisburn Distillery
Lisburn Distillery; Nicholl, Reid, Clarke, Irvine, Dillon, Higginson, O’Hanlon, Harris ©, Sullivan, Withers, McAuley.
Lisburn Distillery substitutes; Bell, McCaw (for Dillon, 58 mins), Brannigan (for O‘Hanlon, 80 mins), Morgan (for Higginson, 76 mins), Getty (for Harris, 80 mins), P. Young (for McAuley, 80 mins).