Lisburn Distillery v Moyola Park (Saturday 8th October 2022) – Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League
It was a return to league action on Saturday as Moyola Park came to New Grosvenor; there was a familiar face in the opposition dugout in the shape of former Whites defender and now Moyola Assistant Coach, Chris Getty.
Barry Johnston was still seeking his first league win as Distillery manager going into this game and Stephen Hughes’ side, who were amongst the favourites for promotion at the start of the season, would provide stern opposition.
The Whites kicked the game off and had the first sight of goal with just under five minutes played, a cross into the box from the right was too high for Dylan Sinnerton but when the ball was returned back into the box, the Whites player was able to get a shot off but his effort was blocked.
After this, the visitors began to take control of the possession but did little to trouble Ethan Carry in the Distillery goal. They did have a shout for a penalty when Bobby Robinson tussled with an attacker to get to a cross inside the box and the Moyola player went down but the referee waved play on.
Moyola had their first real sight of goal after 19 minutes after winning a corner, the ball was headed goalwards but blocked on the line by a Distillery defender and Carry pounced on the loose ball to end the danger.
Carry came to the rescue again for the home side with just over 25 minutes played when he pushed an effort from outside the box away from goal and then claimed the ball when it was recycled back into the Whites box.
After a spell on the backfoot, Distillery finished the first half strongly in the final 15 minutes, Sinnerton and Conall Murray sent promising crosses into the box but these were dealt with by either the Moyola defence or goalkeeper, Andrew Findlay.
Jack Patton was denied by the crossbar when a corner was flicked away but only just beyond the back post and the defender sent a cross-cum-shot back into the danger area only to see the ball clip the top of the bar and go behind for a corner.
In the last couple of minutes, Lewis Higginson tried his luck from range but was denied by a good save from Findlay and Matthew Swann did well to get a shot off from the edge of the box after a corner had been cleared to him but he could not find the target.
No goals in the first half but there was some optimism around the ground that if the Whites could continue the rest of the game the same way they had ended the first half then three points were a real possibility.
Half Time: Lisburn Distillery 0-0 Moyola Park
The second half started and Distillery went on the attack from the off, Murray won the ball back in the Whites half and set off on a promising run down the right but with no support he was eventually crowded out and the danger cleared.
There was a nervy moment for the home side in the 50th minute when a Findlay free kick found Ian Parkhill who looked to be in on goal. However, Patton recovered and was able to get something on the ball to play it off the Moyola player and away from him, the deflection also took the ball towards goal but thankfully just wide of Carry’s left hand post.
Both ‘keepers were called into action just before the hour mark, Findlay made a great double save to deny Patton and McCart from a free kick and at the other end Carry denied Parkhill from point blank range following a corner.
There was what looked to be another good chance for the home side to take the lead in the 64th minute when Murray found Higginson with a cross, the midfielder did well to turn and get the ball past the Moyola defender but the touch proved too heavy and Findlay gathered the ball. The visiting ‘keeper immediately set his side off on the counter and Carry had to make a full stretch save to deny Parkhill.
At this stage, the game was going end to end and in the 69th minute Swann had the ball in the back of the Moyola net but the offside flag was raised against the Whites forward. Three minutes after this a Moyola free kick from just outside the box deflected off the wall, a Moyola player tried to control the ball and in doing so played it against Patton who was able to clear the danger. There were some appeals from Moyola for a handball against the Whites defender but the referee was again unmoved and waved play on, it would have been a very harsh penalty.
Both sides continued to push for a winner in what had turned into an entertaining affair and with just over five minutes left to play it was the Distillery players turn to look to the referee for a penalty. Justin Grattan looked to be brought down after collecting Higginson’s pass and breaking into the box but for the third time of the game the referee said no.
The first goal of the game came in the 86th minute, Distillery were awarded a free kick just a few yards outside the box. Josh Lynch, whose dead ball deliveries had caused problems for Moyola, stopped up again and went for goal. The ball looked to be going well of target but took a wicked deflection off the wall and completely wrong-footed Findlay and ended up in the back of the net. A touch of fortune for the Whites but one that some might say they were overdue.
The Whites came under pressure in the closing minutes but the defence stood firm and when the final whistle blew it was a mixture of joy and relief among players, management and supporters who could celebrate a league win for the first time this season.
Full Time: Lisburn Distillery 1-0 Moyola Park
Lisburn Distillery; Carry, Sinnerton, Murray, McCart, Patton, Grattan, Higginson, Warnock, Lynch, Swann, Robinson
Lisburn Distillery substitutes; Morgan (for Warnock, 31 mins), Elliott (for Murray, 76 mins), Shearer (for Swann, 85 mins), Gray, Curley, Fleming, Angus
Report by Cameron Moore @cameron2604
David Hunter’s Picture gallery from this game available to view @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAaMcw