Lisburn Distillery v Armagh City (Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 5th November 2022
Lisburn Distillery went into a big game with Armagh City high in spirts with four points picked upfrom the previous two league games.
The Whites had a bright start to the game and Dylan Sinnerton forced a good save from Conner Byrne in the fourth minute after being teed up by Lewis Higginson and soon after a dangerous looking ball into the Armagh box was not fully cleared by Jack Clarke but the ball just did not quite fall for Conall Murray.
With this start to the game, there was some surprise when the visitors took the lead after 13 minutes when Stefan Lavery was able to take advantage of some poor play at the back by the Distillery defence and goalkeeper to slot his side ahead.
The first goal seemed to stun Barry Johnston’s side and the lead was doubled just a minute later when former Distillery player Rhys Emerson set off on a run out on the right, beating a couple of defenders and scoring past Ethan Carry.
Things got worse for Distillery when Justin Grattan had to hobble off injured with just over 20 minutes played and in the 22nd minute it could have been 3-0 but for a well-timed Murray tackle when a City player looked to be in on goal.
Carson Elliott, who had been introduced for the aforementioned Grattan, got on the end of a ball into the box in the 24th minute but delayed shooting and allowed Byrne to get something on the ball and a minute later the same player headed just wide after a great cross from Matthew Swann.
After the visitors quick-fire double the Whites slowly managed to get back into the game and pulle a goal back with what turned out to be the last action of the first half, Swann got on the end of a great pass and kept a cool head to finish past the visiting goalkeeper.
Despite being two goals down after 15 minutes played the Whites were now back in the game and the next goal would certainly be a vital one.
Half Time: Lisburn Distillery 1-2 Armagh City
Moving into the second half the Whites started well and had a perfect opportunity to equalise in the 49th minute. Swann tried his luck on goal out on the left and the ball struck an opposing defender, with the referee deciding he had used his hand.
Swann took the responsibility himself, sending his spot kick low to the ‘keepers right but Byrne guessed right and to his credit made a fine save to keep his side ahead.
In the 49th minute, a Whites corner was cleared but quickly returned into the box and Jack Patton headed goalwards at the back post but his effort was blocked by a defender and cleared.
Soon after this play was stopped for a lengthy period to allow Emerson to receive treatment with the player eventually having to be stretchered off. The stoppage seemed to take the wind out of the Whites sails, it was Armagh who then began to gain the upper hand, and they missed a glorious chance to regain their two-goal lead when they quickly countered after a Distillery attack broke down but missed a virtually empty goal.
City did add to their lead in the 70th minute through a fine strike from Harry Anderson and at this stage, it seemed like it was game set and match.
The home side did continue to push forward and went close through Caoelain Young whose effort was deflected behind for a corner and Higginson had an effort saved by Byrne after getting on the end of a Sinnerton pass.
An uphill task for the Whites to get anything from the game became all the harder when Bobby Robinson was given his marching orders, he was shown a straight red card for a tackle after another Armagh counter attack.
A lot of the play at this time was in the Armagh half but there were few opportunities on goal, Sinnerton did get on the end of a pass from the left and saw his shot saved by Byrne but it was Armagh who scored again in the first minute of injury time thanks to a fine Scott McCann goal.
All in all a disappointing day for the Whites and after recent league results it perhaps feels like a step backwards. The Whites now have a break from competitive action until we welcome Banbridge to New Grosvenor on Saturday 3rd December.
Full Time: Lisburn Distillery 1-4 Armagh City
Carry, Robinson, Murray, Patton, McCart, Warnock, Higginson, Morgan, Swann, Grattan, Sinnerton
Lisburn Distillery substitutes; Fleming, Angus, Shannon (for Morgan, 60 mins), Young (for Warnock, 70 mins), Gray, Curley, Elliott (for Grattan, 21 mins)
Match report by Cameron Moore @cameron2604
Further images by David Hunter from this game can be viewed @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAemPE