Lisburn Distillery made their way to a sun soaked Breda Park on Tuesday night to face PSNI, hoping to return to winning ways against opponents they had already beaten twice this season.
There was one change to the side that lost 2-0 against Limavady the previous game, Jonathan Edge started ahead of Jonathan Angus.
The visitors had an early chance to take the lead when a Timmy Clarke cross found Mick O’Hanlon at the back post but his shot went straight at Tom Hegan, in goal for the home side.
The Whites went close again in the second minute when Barry Moore shot just off target when a corner was not fully cleared and a minute later up the other end there was a scare when a right hand cross was headed just over the bar.
There were penalty appeals for Distillery in the 5th minute when Caoelain Young went down in the box under pressure but the referee waved play on and seconds later Jordan Lucas shot just wide when a Clarke cross was cleared but came to him on the edge of the box.
Glenn Taggart’s side went close again in the 9th minute, and again it was a cross from the right that found a home player at the back post but a Whites defender was able to block the shot and the ball went behind for a corner. From the corner, Moore could only clear the ball as far as the edge of the box and when it was returned Stephen Sullivan tried to clear the danger a second time but his high foot caught the head of a PSNI player and this time the referee did point for a penalty. There was a lengthy delay while the PSNI player received treatment but eventually Tony Tumelty stepped up to bury the ball in the back of the net and put the home team ahead.
Distillery responded well to going behind and Clarke was involved again in the 16th minute when he found O’Hanlon with another cross but the header downwards took Lucas away from goal. Eventually, the number 10 did manage to cross the ball into the middle and Lewis Higginson tried to back heel the ball on to O’Hanlon but a defender got a crucial touch to clear the danger.
The visitors thought they had found a way back into the game after 22 minutes when O’Hanlon was brought down in the box and for the second time during the game, the referee pointed to the spot. O’Hanlon took on the responsibility himself but went straight down the middle and his spot kick was saved by the legs of Hegan.
The equaliser for the Whites did come in the 34th minute when a free kick was won in the left hand corner, O’Hanlon crossed to the back post and Joe Reid jumped above his marker to send an unstoppable header past Hegan and into the back of the net.
The Whites controlled much of the rest of the half but could not find any further goals before the break and went in level at half time.
Half-time: PSNI 1-1 Lisburn Distillery
The first talking point after the break was the third goal of the game, which came seven minutes after the restart. Another cross was sent over from the left and Lucas’ goal bound header was well saved by Hegan but came back to him to score at the second attempt.
The celebrations were cut short however, as three minutes later a high ball caused a problem for the Whites and the ball found its way to Jake Moore who, despite being forced, wide was able to send a stunning chip over Nicholl to bring the home side level.
Just before the hour mark Distillery were almost behind when a cross from Tumelty down the right could only be cleared by edge into the path of Jonathan Courtney who looked set to take advantage only for Jonah Nicholl to make a fine save to keep the game level.
Nicholl was the hero again in the 64th minute when a short corner was eventually delivered to the back post and found an unmarked PSNI player who went for the spectacular with a scissor kick but the Distillery stopper got two strong hands behind the ball to parry it away.
The Whites regained the lead in the 68th minute when Lucas won the ball in the final third and slotted the ball through to Higginson, the number six tried to find Sullivan in the middle but the ball was just too far ahead of him. Fortunately, though, substitute Jason Scott was following up at the back post and found Sullivan at the second time of asking and he managed to turn and hammer the ball home. It was the former Crusaders man’s first goal for Distillery and redeemed the first half penalty.
The Whites fourth goal came five minutes later and O’Hanlon was involved again, his free kick on the edge of the D was blocked by the wall but he collected the ball and went out wide, beating a couple of defenders and sending a cross into the middle. Lucas headed goalwards but Hegan did well to tip the ball onto the bar but could do nothing as Higginson followed up to finish off the rebound.
O’Hanlon was next to add his name to the scoresheet in the 78th minute and again it was another cross from Clarke that led to this. The full backs cross from the left missed everyone in the box but the number seven collected it at the back post and with the angle against him sent a great curling effort into the top corner for his 11th goal of the season.
The Whites were not done yet though and the goalscoring was complete in added time when a corner was cleared straight to substitute Caolan Conlon who let rip with a great strike from outside the box that hit Hegan’s right hand post before finding a way over the line. This made Conlon the second player of the night to score his first goal for the club.
A comprehensive return to winning ways for Distillery who now look forward to a home game against Moyola Park on Saturday.
Full time: PSNI 2-6 Lisburn Distillery
Nicholl, Edge, Clarke, Moore, Reid, Higginson, O’Hanlon, Harris ©, Sullivan, Lucas,
Lisburn Distillery substitutes;
Pollock, Dillon (for Edge, 60 mins), Angus, Morgan (for Higginson, 82 mins), Conlon (for Lucas, 80 mins), Scott (for Young, 58 mins), Brannigan (for Sullivan, 80 mins)
Report by Cameron Moore