Match report – Lisburn Distillery v Ballymacash Rangers (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 25th March 2023
Lisburn Distillery welcomed Ballymacash Rangers to New Grosvenor on Saturday for a highly anticipated game as we enter the final stages of the Premier Intermediate League (PIL).
A win for Barry Johnston’s side would move them one-step closer to securing a top six spot, while our visitors remain in the hunt for a promotion play-off spot.
Jourdan Shearer and Adam McCart were available for selection again after serving suspensions last week against Armagh, the former replaced Michael Gallagher in the starting line-up, with the latter starting this one on the bench.
Ballymacash had a couple of opportunities to take the lead through set pieces in the opening stages of the game but despite promising deliveries from Ryan Newberry, these came to nothing and it was the home side who had the best chance so far after 15 minutes. Shearer did well to flick the ball around a defender and set off down the left, his cross into the box found Lewis Higginson but he could only really direct the ball straight at Brian Neeson in the Ballymacash goal.
Just a few moments later Distillery had another golden chance to open the scoring. A corner was not fully cleared by Lee Forsythe’s side and when a cross was sent into the box from the left Josh Lynch looked to have the goal at this mercy but could not get anything on the ball to turn it goalwards.
Unfortunately, the Whites would regret these missed opportunities soon after, a Ballymacash free kick was headed away from danger but quickly recycled. Ethan Carry came racing off his line and it looked like the Distillery captain just got to the ball before Zach Barr but the former Portstewart striker went down and the referee pointed to the spot for what seemed like a soft penalty that few opposition players had claimed for. Former Distillery player, and Ballymacash captain, Jordan Morrison took on the responsibility and while Carry guessed right and got his fingertips to the ball he could not keep it out and the visitors had the lead after 20 minutes.
The visitors lead was almost doubled four minutes later when Barr flicked the ball goalwards from a corner only to see it hit the crossbar.
The Whites soon settled after going behind and Higginson and Lynch saw further efforts on goal saved by Neeson and Distillery fans perhaps had a sinking feeling it was not going to be our day five minutes before the break. The ball fell to Jonathan Doyle following a cross into the box and Neeson looked to finally be beaten only for a defender to get his body between the ball and the goal to block the effort.
The half time whistle sounded and despite being a goal down there had been plenty of pleasing aspects to the first half performance from Distillery. Supporters of both sides will have no doubt remembered that earlier in the season the Whites fought back from 2-0 down to secure a draw at The Bluebell so the game was certainly far from over.
Half Time: Lisburn Distillery 0-1 Ballymacash Rangers
The Whites enjoyed a lively start to the second half and had another promising sight of goal just over ten minutes after the break. Shearer did well to win the ball back in the final third and cut into the box but in the end his shot went straight into Neeson’s hands when perhaps the better option would have been to square to Higginson.
The lively Shearer was involved again just after the hour mark, firstly he tried his luck on goal after making his way through the opposition defence but missed the target and then his cross into the box found Doyle, but the ball went over the bar for a goal kick, despite Distillery players appeals that a defender had gotten the last touch.
The second goal of the game did arrive in the 63rd minute, a free kick was pumped into the box from just inside their own half and Barr won the ball in the air, an attacker attempted an overheard kick but did not make a great connection but the ball found its way to Kyle Beggs at the back post who tucked the ball in to the bottom left hand corner.
Distillery made some substitutions throughout the second half to try and find a way to reduce the deficit but unfortunately could not penetrate the visitors backline and when the final whistle sounded there was perhaps mixed feelings in the air as while the performance had been more than encouraging it was arguably the second time this season Distillery will feel they could have gotten more from a game against Ballymacash.
Fortunately, results elsewhere went in our favour and we currently remain in 6th spot as we head into this Saturday’s game against PSNI, though that could change when Banbridge and Tobermore meet on Tuesday night.
Full Time: Lisburn Distillery 0-2 Ballymacash Rangers
Lisburn Distillery; Carry, Wilson, Robinson, Angus, O. McCart, Lynch, Higginson, Newell, Shearer, Doyle, Savage
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; McVarnock (for Shearer, 69 mins), Swann, Gallagher (for Newell, 63 mins), A. McCart (for Savage, 60 mins), Clougherty, Storey, Cope
Report by Cameron Moore (‘cameron2604)
David Hunter’s picture gallery from this game can be found @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAxvhG