Barry Johnston era up and running with win at Lakeview Park
09 July 2022 – Loughgall 2 Lisburn Distillery 4
A new era under manager Barry Johnston got off to a very promising start as The Whites defeated Loughgall in the first pre-season game this summer.
With Distillery’s new manager at the end of a short break in Spain, Ciaran Stitt was in charge alongside the new management and backroom teams. But Loughgall could have taken the lead in their opening attack, a move down the right saw a good chance sent high over the cross-bar.
A new-look Distillery responded – Robinson had a header from a Benji Magee cross on seven minutes and seconds later he forced an outstanding save from the Loughgall keeper after cutting inside and unleashing a fierce shot goalward.
The visitors forced a number of corners, Dylan Sinnerton was forced off with an injury and then Distillery took the lead on 17 minutes – Magee capitalising on a defensive mix-up to go round the keeper and score.
Loughgall then came back into the match – Nedas Maciulaistis fired wide, his shot though didn’t test Ethan Carry. The home side’s number nine then limped off injured before a defensive clearance on 35 minutes rebounded kindly to Loughgall’s number 8 who broke clear but was thwarted by Carry who was out quickly and down to block the player.
Loughgall’s number 16 then fired a low shot across the goal before the outstanding goal of the game on 39 minutes. The Whites broke down their left, Magee picking the ball up in his own half and running the wide channel before cutting inside. With three defenders closing in, he squared the ball to Stephen Sullivan who sent a superbly timed pass in behind the Loughgall backline, Magee ran onto it, cut inside a defender and slipped the ball wide of the advancing goalkeeper – a great move and finish, 0-2 Distillery.
Half-time – Loughgall 0 Lisburn Distillery 2
All change at the start of the second-half for the visitors – with ten changes made – and not surprisingly the home side fared better as the new eleven found their feet.
Loughgall pulled a goal back through Maciulaistis on 52 minutes. Two minutes later Kai Beck kept out Loughgall 17 with his legs before the two-goal advantage was restored on 67 minutes – Scott Brannigan side-footing the ball wide of the keeper and in off the post from just outside the box.
Five minutes later the Whites netted their fourth; a through ball in behind the backline was fired home by Jason Scott. Beck denied Robbie Norton on 80 minutes but three minutes from time Norton found the bottom corner of the net.
The Whites though had done more than enough to see the game out and it certainly was a very encouraging and positive start to the pre-season campaign.
Speaking afterwards, assistant manager Ciaran Stitt said; “It was a pleasing start; we came here today and played a really good side in Loughgall. We didn’t know what to expect, although we have been training with the boys for just over a week, it’s hard to know where we are until you actually go into a game and watch your side out there.
There were some very good individual performances today and there is plenty to work on but we are please3d with what we saw and it bodes well going forward. Barry has is eyes on a few other players to come in and strengthen us even further, but we are happy with our start to pre-season.”
Lisburn Distillery Line-Ups (excluding substitutions)
First-half – Carry, Smith, Irvine, Angus, Morgan, Sinnerton, McCaffrey, Higginson, Robinson, Sullivan, Magee.
Second-half – Beck, Dillon, 4, Angus, Grattan, 19, 7, 11, Brannigan, Scott, 16
Line-up will be updated
Match Report – © David Hunter