Ballymacash Rangers v Lisburn Distillery (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League) – Tuesday 25th October 2022
Lisburn Distillery made the trip to The Bluebell on Tuesday night to take on Ballymacash Rangers in the first ever-competitive Lisburn derby.
The home side had four wins from five in the league going into the game and in contrast the Whites had one win from five so most Distillery supporters were not expecting much from the game but as we all know, football is not played on paper.
It was a frantic start to the game and in the 4th minute Dylan Sinnerton sought to take advantage of a short back pass to Rangers goalkeeper Brian Neeson but the former Carrick and Cliftonville stopper beat the Whites player to the ball and then Lewis Higginson to the follow up. Neeson sent his side on the counter and Odhran McCart had to clear a goal bound effort out for a corner when Ethan Carry was lobbed after coming off his line.
After this the Whites began to gain the upper hand in the game possession wise but Neeson was largely untested, Sinnerton sent a dangerous cross into the box but no teammates could get on the end of it and Matthew Swann had an effort on goal but could not hit the target.
Carry was called to action in the 20th minute when he comfortably saved Jack Smith’s effort on goal and five minutes later the home side really should have been in front but Justin Armstrong fluffed his effort from a Smith cross when it really looked easier to score.
Both ‘keepers were called into action either side of the half hour mark, firstly Neeson denied a low Sinnerton effort after the same players cross from the right had been cleared back into his path and then Carry made a good double save after a defensive lap from the Whites.
Unfortunately, from the resultant corner of Carry’s heroics the Whites good work in the game came undone when the ball found the head of former Distillery player, Jordan Morrison, who gave the Distillery ‘keeper no chance with his header and put the home side in front.
The lead was doubled in the final minute of the half when Aaron Smyth and Carry both seemed to leave a cross from the right for each other, the ball bounced off Smyth and the hesitation allowed Dylan Davidson to nip in and force the ball over the line.
The first half ended what had largely been a positive performance for far for Distillery and the side would no doubt feel unfortunate to be 2-0 behind at the break.
Half Time: Ballymacash Rangers 2-0 Lisburn Distillery
The two late goals in the first half clearly did not discourage the Whites too much as they set off on the attack in the first minute of the second half, Swann did well to keep the ball in play out on the left and cut infield but Neeson tipped his stinging shot over the bar.
Distillery again enjoyed a bright start to the half; however, the home side should have been out of sight in the 49th minute but Armstrong’s bad night in front of goal continued. The attacker got on the end of a cross from the left but from a few yards out and with the goal gaping his shot clipped the top of the crossbar and went over.
Lee Forsyth’s side would regret this miss as with just over ten minutes of the second half played the Whites got the goal their performance had deserved when Swann got on the end of a Sinnerton cross to send the ball past Neeson. With the deficit halved and the Whites performing well in the game there was very much a feeling of game on around the ground.
There was not long to wait for the equaliser, it came just three minute later when Distillery set off on a great counter-attacking move that ended with Higginson scoring on the rebound after an earlier effort from half time substitute James Morgan had been saved. There was just over half an hour to play and the points were either sides for the taking now.
In the 62nd minute Barry Johnston’s side almost turned the game on its head when Sinnerton tried to find Swann with a pass but an opposition defender managed to stick out a leg and deflect the ball away from the Whites attacker. In doing so though, the defender sent the ball goalwards and Neeson had to quickly scramble back to get a hand on the ball and push it behind for a corner.
The game continued in an end-to-end fashion, albeit with few chances on goal, another former Distillery player, Michael Moore, who had been introduced from the bench shot wide and Neeson comfortably saved Sinnerton’s long-range effort.
Both sides would have a chance to snatch the win in the closing minutes of the game, firstly a Distillery corner found a teammate at the back post but Neeson made a crucial save. Then in the final minute of normal time, Moore found himself with only Carry to beat after a counter attack but the Whites stopper stood his ground and saved when the striker shot straight at him.
The home side ended on the front foot with some set pieces allowing them to get men in the box in injury time but the Whites defence dug in and when the final whistle sounded they could celebrate a well-earned, and perhaps unexpected, share of the spoils.
The result moved the Whites up to 9th in the table and with no game this Saturday attention turns to a crucial home game against Armagh on the first weekend of November.
Full Time: Ballymacash Rangers 2-2 Lisburn Distillery
Lisburn Distillery; Carry, Smyth, Warnock, McCart, Patton, Sinnerton, Higginson, Grattan, Lynch, Swann, Robinson
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; Young, Elliott (for Grattan, 75 mins), Shearer (for Swann, 85 mins), Gray, Morgan (for Warnock, 46 mins), Angus, Fleming
Match report by Cameron Moore (@cameron2604)
Picture gallery by David Hunter from this game available to view @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAcP7T