Match report v Ards 10/10/20
Ards v Lisburn Distillery (County Antrim Shield First Round – 10/10/2020)
Just over seven months since Lisburn Distillery’s last competitive fixture, season 2020-21 finally kicked off on Saturday against Ards in the first round of the County Antrim Shield.
Distillery are of course under new management this season with former player, Johnny Clapham, taking over the reins from Stephen Hatfield. Clapham is also no stranger to the Bangor Fuels Arena having previously had spells as Ards seconds team manager and as part of the first team coaching setup.
Summer signings Caoelain Young, Ross Murphy and Scott Brannigan started the game on the bench with the returning Joe Reid starting the game at right back.
The first few minutes of the game saw the hosts with much of the possession but the Whites were able to deal with this initial pressure and Clapham’s side had their first venture forward as early as the third minute when Mikey Withers set off on a run down the left but his pass to Mick O’Hanlon was just short and a defender was able to clear the danger.
In the 9th minute James Wright won the ball in the middle of the pitch following an Ards throw in and played the ball to James Begley who was brought down by Ruairi O’Hare about 20 yards from goal. Withers and Wright stood over the free kick with the former leaving the ball for the later who duly put the ball around the wall and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Five minutes after the opening goal Distillery hearts were in mouths when an Ards player went down in the box under pressure from Barry Moore but the referee was unmoved waving for play to continue, it would have been a very soft penalty. Ten minutes later Aaron Harris won the ball back from an Ards player in the centre circle and immediately set the side off on the counter attack with a pass to Withers but the pacey wingers final shot flew across the face of goal and ended up going out of play.
In the 25th minute Whites ‘keeper Jonah Nicholl was called into action for the first time in the game when he claimed a free kick from Craig McMillen and a couple of minutes later Nicholl denied the same player when Ards won the ball back from Wright and set off down the Whites right hand side but Nicholl spread himself and blocked the wingers final effort.
In the 33rd minute the Whites had a sight of goal when Paul Young looked to pounce on a short back pass from Jaimie McGovern but Ards ‘keeper Daniel Devine was alert to the danger and beat the Distillery player to the ball. At the other end Daniel Reynolds headed just over from a Conall Young cross and Kym Nelson hit a free kick just over the Whites crossbar.
Half-time: Ards 0-1 Lisburn Distillery
The second half started fairly slowly from an attacking point of view with Moore being forced to clear a McMillen free kick behind for a corner and up the other end Wright tried to take a quick free kick after Paul Young was fouled but the Whites attack were not expecting the pass and it ended up running through to Devine.
In the 60th minute Ards substitute, Salou Jallow, managed to get around Reid and Moore could only head his clearance from the cross against the back of Reynolds who turned and shot but just as the Ards forward was already celebrating the equaliser Nicholl showed great reactions to palm the effort away and Chris Getty was on hand to clear the ball from Jallow who was set to have a second bite at the cherry.
At this point Clapham made his first substitution of the game introducing Caoelain Young in place of James Begley but the home side were beginning to gain the upper hand and Jallow in particular was causing a problem since his introduction with his pace and ability on the ball.
The Ards equaliser did eventually come in the 72nd minute when Withers fouled McMillen in a similar area that the first goal had come from, Nelson again stepped up for Ards but this time crossed to the back post were the ball was headed back across the goal and McMillen had the easy task of nodding the ball past Nicholl to level the game.
At this point Ards were well in control of the game but Clapham’s side weren’t beaten yet and when Caoelain Young got the better of his man and fired in a dangerous cross towards his namesake, Paul, Devine had to be alert to come and claim the ball and the home stopper also was called into action to save a Paul Young header from a deflected Wright pass.
At the other end a well placed Timmy Clarke had to clear a Jallow shot off the line following a corner and Wright also had to clear a dangerous looking cross from Nelson after the hosts broke following a Distillery free kick.
Just when everyone was bracing themselves for penalties Distillery hearts were broken when, in the third minute of injury time, substitute Roohi managed to get around Getty from a Reynolds pass and broke into the box, the Whites centre back gave chase and when Roohi went down the referee pointed to the spot though the contact appeared to have been minimal at best. McMillen stepped up for the hosts to attempt to score his second goal, Nicholl did guess right and saved the spot kick low to his left but unfortunately the rebound landed for McMillen who hammered home at the second attempt with what was effectively the last kick of the game.
Disappointment for Distillery players and supporters in the end but certainly a lot of positives to take forward to the Bangor match in two weeks’ time and beyond.
Lisburn Distillery; Nicholl, Clarke, Reid, Moore, Getty, Wright, O’Hanlon, Harris, Begley, Withers, P. Young
Substitutes; Scutt, C. Young (for Begley, 66), Murphy, Irvine, Dillon (for P. Young, 80), Brannigan
By Cameron Moore
David Hunter’s photo gallery from this game can be found on our official Flickr page @ https://flic.kr/s/aHsmRna512