Saturday marked the first time in the 2021/2022 season that Lisburn Distillery have had back-to-back league games, in fact the last time this feat occurred was back just becore the first lockdown when we played Moyola Park and Annagh United.
There was one change made to the Distillery line-up, Mikey Withers started in place of Nick Napier who started this one on the bench.
Distillery started the game brightly enough and had the first sight of goal in the 5 th minute when a high pass from midfield looked to put Withers in behind but the pacey winger was forced wide with his first touch, he did manage to make a pass to Jordan Lucas but his shot was off target.
The Whites came closer three minutes later when Withers won a free-kick in a promising area and Johnny McCaw’s cross was flicked goalwards by Mick O’Hanlon but came back off the post.
At the other end a Joshua Logan effort from range failed to trouble Jonah Nicholl but largely it was the visitors who had the upper hand and some trickery from Lucas in the 19th minute ended with his cross-come-shot flashing across the face of goal and out for a goal kick and four minutes later a McCaw free-kick just cleared the post.
Lucas and McCaw were involved again in the 25th minute when the former chased down a loose ball and managed to beat PSNI ‘keeper Tom Hegan to the ball, with the home keeper in no man’s land it was a golden opportunity but Lucas’ path to goal was blocked by defenders and the recovering Hegan so he squared to McCaw but a heavy touch forced him away from goal and the chance was gone.
Distillery continued to hold the upper hand for the rest of the half but there were no goals in the first half at The Dub and whilst the first half performance had been largely pleasing Whites fans were hoping missed chances would not come back to haunt us again.
Half-time: PSNI 0-0 Lisburn Distillery
The home side had the first opportunity of the second half when a curling free kick from range seemed to deceive Nicholl and came back off the post before the danger was eventually averted but after this the Whites again began to take control of the game and the opening goal would eventually come in the 56th minute.
A corner presented an opportunity for the visitors to throw their ‘big men’ from the back up and when O’Hanlon delivered the ball was met by Joe Reid, whose bullet header gave Hegan no chance and Distillery the lead.
Withers, recently returned from injury, had caused problems for the PSNI defence all day down the left with his pace and went close with two shots in as many minutes shortly after the hour mark. The wingers first effort went off target after a powerful run and his second was well saved by Hegan.
The second goal for Distillery came in the 71st minute when a fine pass from Aaron Harris put Lucas through on goal with only the keeper to beat and despite the close attentions of a chasing defender he kept his cool to slot the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
After the second goal the home side did begin to apply some pressure and Nicholl made a good save from a Tony Tumelty effort from range. In injury time there was a nervy moment when the ball ping ponged around the Distillery box but was eventually cleared for a corner and from this Nicholl pulled off another fine save from a close range header.
The Whites managed to see off this danger and eventually added a third goal in the sixth minute of injury time when a clearance put substitute Caoelain Young clean through on goal, the striker rounded Hegan before eventually lashing the ball into the back of the net.
The final whistle blew and Distillery players and supporters were finally able to celebrate a league win for the first time since December 2019, when a Kevin Braniff brace secured the points against Limavady.
Full-time: PSNI 0-3 Lisburn Distillery
Nicholl, Dillon, Moore, Reid, Getty, Higginson, O’Hanlon, Harris ©, Withers, McCaw, Lucas.
Lisburn Distillery substitutes;
Bell, Irvine, Sullivan (for O’Hanlon, 86 mins), C. Young (for Lucas, 76
mins), Emerson, Napier (for McCaw, 64 mins), McAuley (for Withers, 86 mins).