Match Report – Dollingstown v Lisburn Distillery (PLAYR-FIT Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 7th October 2023
Lisburn Distillery returned to league action with a trip to Dollingstown and hoping to bounce back from the previous week’s league defeat against Queens and the midweek loss against Ballymena in the League Cup.
Curtis Woods and Ryan McNickle returned to the starting eleven after making substitute appearances in the Ballymena game and Robert Geddis also earned a first start in a league game; Ryan Sharkey, Kyle Flynn and Joe Tully were the trio that dropped out.
Distillery had an early chance to take the lead when after three minutes Michael Gallagher collected a McNickle pass but seemed to delay shooting and when he did get his shot off, a defender blocked it. Justin Grattan then tried to retrieve the ball but was caught by a defender just inside the box with the referee showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
After a slight delay, during which the home sides protests fell on deaf ears, Gallagher stepped up but his effort from 12 yards was not the greatest of penalties and Macauley Cairns saved the ball with his legs and the ball was cleared before any visiting players could get to the rebound.
After this, the home side got on the front foot and had most of the ball but any efforts on goal did not trouble Ethan Carry. They did have a great opportunity to take the lead in the 20th minute, a Daniel Gordon shot after cutting in from the left was blocked but the ball fell into the path of Jonathan Ewart who somehow sent his shot well over the crossbar when it really looked easier to score.
With 26 minutes on the clock, Carry was called into action to make a great save from a headed effort, though the linesman had raised his flag for offside anyway. After this, the Whites did improve for a period of time and started to enjoy more of the possession but Cairns had still not made a save since his early penalty save.
Just before the half hour mark Gallagher threaded a good pass through to McNickle but it was just too far out of reach for the Distillery attacker and in the 39th minute Cairns had to be alert to tip a cross from Grattan over the bar after it started to curl towards the top corner. In between these Distillery attacks Ewart managed to get past Woods in the Distillery box and sent a cross-cum-shot across the face of the goal but it trickled out for a goal kick.
The first goal of the game did come in the 42nd minute and it went the way of the home side.
Dollingstown were awarded a free kick on the left after a Dean Lewis foul and the cross into the box found Ewart who headed the ball into the back of the net and gave the home side a deserved lead.
There was time for one more attack before the break but unfortunately, for Distillery, it was at the wrong end as Carry was called into action to save a Gordon effort from outside the box. There was going to have to be a big improvement from the Whites if they were to find their way back into the game in the second half.
Half Time: Dollingstown 1-0 Lisburn Distillery
After the break Distillery went the closest to scoring in the 49th minute, Grattan hit a shot from the edge of the box into the ground and it looped up but Cairns managed to tip the ball over the bar for a corner, which was saved.
Distillery made a double substitution ten minutes after the break; with Jamie Devenny and Kyle Flynn replacing Curtis Woods and Kyle Flynn in what appeared to be an attempt from the Whites management to get some more width.
Unfortunately before either sub had the opportunity to make any impact the home side doubled their lead, Ewart collected a pass from the right and fired past Carry from inside the box at his near post.
For much of the rest of the game Distillery had most of the ball but similar to the previous weeks game against Queens, Dollingstown seemed quite content to allow the visitors to knock the ball around with the defence and ‘keeper rarely troubled although Devenny did flick a corner from Flynn across goal and just wide and Gallagher had a close range effort saved by Cairns.
In the closing moments there were further attempts from Distillery to pull one back but Newell’s shot was blocked by a defender and Devenny’s was held by Cairns.
Overall, it was a frustrating day for the Distillery faithful and the Whites have a free week this weekend due to the international break and then return to New Grosvenor for what is shaping up to be an important league game against PSNI.
Full Time: Dollingstown 2-0 Lisburn Distillery
Carry, Lewis, Geddis, McDermott, Angus, Woods, Grattan, Newell, McNickle, Gallagher, Savage
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; Robinson, Devenny (for Flynn, 55 mins), Sharkey (for Savage, 82 mins), Flynn (for Woods, 55 mins), Cakaj, Tully, McCart
Report by Cameron Moore (@cameron2604)
David Hunter’s picture gallery from this game can be viewed @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAXKEZ