Lisburn Distillery v Armagh City (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 15th April 2023
Lisburn Distillery hosted Shea Campbell’s Armagh side for the second time this season at New Grosvenor, the meeting between the sides before Christmas ended in a 4-1 win for Campbell’s men.
Since then the Whites went on a good run and just missed out on a spot in the top six in their final pre-split game last week, in contrast Armagh had only won once since that game and that was two weeks ago against Portstewart. City went into the game six points clear of the bottom place relegation spot so certainly had something to play for.
Barry Johnston made two changes to the side that lost the week before against Moyola, Bobby Robinson and Adam McCart returned to the starting eleven in place of Pearse McVarnock and Odhran McCart.
In truth, the opening 45 minutes were a bit of a non-event between the two sides with few talking points of note. The visitors started with most of the ball in the Whites half but it would be the 37th minute before Callum Rooney had a save to make, when he held a James McCormack shot from just inside the box.
Five minutes before the break Jonathan Newell went for goal with a free kick from 30 yards that went over the bar, though was certainly closer than his earlier effort from a similar range.
The home side did get forward a few times in the closing minutes of the half and Jourdan Shearer sent a couple of dangerous crosses into the six-yard box that no one was able to get on the end of. One of these was cleared as far as Josh Lynch who shot from just outside the box but a defender blocked it.
The referee blew for half time in what so far had felt very much like an end of season game and both sets of supporters will have been hoping for more after the break.
Half Time: Lisburn Distillery 0-0 Armagh City
The visitors started brightly after the break and had the ball in the net in the 49th minute but to Distillery’s relief the offside flag was raised and four minutes later Scott McCann shot just wide of Rooney’s left hand post after collecting a short Marc McConnell corner.
All in all it was not a huge surprise for anyone watching when Armagh took the lead with 10 minutes of the second half played, an Adam McCart clearance ricocheted off a visiting player and substitute Ethan Jordan took full advantage to give his side the lead.
1-0 almost became 2-0 just two minutes later when a pass from midfield split the Whites defence and created space for Armagh down the left but Jonathan Angus was on hand to clear off the line from the final effort. The lead was doubled just a minute later though, Carter Savage brought Conor Mullen down as both tried to get on the end of a high ball. The City number nine stepped up himself to smash the ball past Rooney.
Armagh added a third goal to their tally with just under 15 minutes remaining; McCormack swivelled out on the right and sent a cracking strike out of the reach of Rooney. The Whites did manage to reduce the deficit in the 78th minute; Michael Gallagher outpaced the City defence and finished past Conner Byrne to perhaps offer a glimmer of hope to the Whites adding some respectability to the scoreline.
Unfortunately, any slim hopes of some sort of comeback completely evaporated in the 85th minute when Calum MacGregor rose unmarked to head home from a corner.
Eventually the referee called time on what had been a poor day all around for the Whites in a game that ultimately the side got what they deserved from. Armagh’s win and PSNI’s loss against Portstewart does mean that the Whites can no longer finish in bottom spot and therefore are safe from relegation but that is about the only positive note that could be taken from Saturday.
Full Time: Lisburn Distillery 1-4 Armagh City
Lisburn Distillery; Rooney, Willis, Robinson, Angus, A. McCart ©, Lynch, Higginson, Newell, Gallagher, Shearer, Savage
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; Clougherty, O. McCart, Shannon, McCleave, Storey (for Shearer, 73 mins), Doyle (for Savage, 61 mins), Warnock (for Lynch, 73 mins)
Report by Cameron Moore (@cameron2604)
David Hunter’s picture gallery from this game can be found @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAA1G3