Newington 4 Lisburn Distillery 2 – Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League – 12th April 2022
The Whites travelled to Seaview for this re-arranged league fixture against Newington.
Newington pressed forward from the off, and Distillery survived an early threat with Newington’s Robbie McVarnock firing just past a post from distance. In the fifth minute however, the early pressure paid off with Richard Gowdy heading home from a corner.
Caoelain Young had Distillery’s first effort three minutes later but Newington countered immediately and went close once more before an injury to Neil Dillon forced him off, with Timmy Clarke coming on to replace him.
Newington almost scored again on 19 minutes through Patrick Downey but Jonah Nicholl made a good save to deny him. At the other end Young burst into the Newington box but fired wide before we had another delay after Stephen Sullivan and Nicholl collided.
Just after the half-hour mark McVarnock went close again but this time his volley from a corner went over the goal. On 39 minutes though the home side extended their lead through Darren Stuart following a ball in from the Newington left.
It was hard to see the Whites getting back into this one at that stage but credit to the team who kept battling, and at the end of the first-half Aaron Harris got on the end of a Jordan Lucas cross and fired in from just outside the six-yard box – two in two for the Distillery captain. And the momentum continued for the visitors after the break – on 49 minutes Young raced into the box past two defenders only to be denied by some brave defending.
Newington though should have added a third minutes later when Nicholl’s cross went straight to Stuart but he wasted a good opportunity. On 54 minutes Distillery though were level, a ball was played through the centre to Lewis Higginson who turned and fired home from 20 yards out.
Newington, battling for the league title came back into it after that shaky period; they had another chance on 59 minutes but again a header was off target. Michael O’Hanlon then sent a freekick over the Newington goal before The Ton went close from a corner.
After that a lull in chances came to an end on 73 minutes, Anthony McGonnell fired in a shot that beat Nicholl at his near post and on 82 minutes The Ton netted their last goal with Gowdy firing in a great effort from 25 yards out.
Credit though to Distillery who battled to the end, particularly so when O’Hanlon was injured on 83 minutes. He was floored after the ball hit him on the face, and lay prone on the Seaview surface for a few anxious minutes as Distillery’s physio Fionnuala McCorry treated him along with assistance from Newington forward Dr Daire Rooney.
With O’Hanlon thankfully able to get to his feet but clearly not fit to continue, the Whites were forced to play the remaining sixteen minutes (to 90+9 minutes) with ten men, having already used substitutes on three earlier occasions.
Newington could afford to miss another chance just before the end, but the win saw the North Belfast side go top of the league and it will be a tight run-in at the top over the remaining six games for the title contenders
Disappointment for Distillery who battled hard to come back from two down but the side will ultimately look back on four goals that should have been defended much better across the park.
Newington – Walker, Casey (Gorman 51), Bradley, Gowdy (Rooney 86), Stuart, Downey, McNicholl (White 67), McGonnell, Gillen (Lundy 67), Rice (Burns 67), McVarnock. Unused subs – Cummings, McKenna.
Lisburn Distillery – Nicholl, Dillon (Clarke 17), Angus, Moore, Reid, Higginson (Scott 81), O’Hanlon, Harris, Sullivan (Conlon 70), Lucas, Young (Brannigan 81) Unused subs – Pollock, Morgan, Edge.
.Referee – Ryan Hanna
Match report © David Hunter