Queens University v Lisburn Distillery (Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League) – Saturday 3rd September 2022
It was a short trip to The Dub for Lisburn Distillery to take on Queens University on Saturday, with the Whites hoping to build on the previous week’s goalless draw against Portstewart.
Midweek signings Stephen Curley and Matthew Swann went straight into the team and Fra McGuinness also returned to the starting eleven, there were familiar faces in the Queens line up in the shape of Neil Dillon, Christian Irvine and Mikey Withers.
The Whites survived an early scare in the 2nd minute when James Morgan seemed to misjudge his clearance from a ball into the Distillery box but Curley managed to clear the danger behind for a corner. Unfortunately the visitors luck would not last for much longer as this corner was cleared behind for another corner and on the second occasion the cross found Irvine at the backpost and the former Distillery player headed past Ethan Carry to give the home side the lead.
The game could have been out of sight for Barry Johnston’s side after just seven minutes and it was another member of the former Distillery contingent involved, as Withers cut in from the right and was brought down after entering the penalty box with the referee pointing to the spot. Withers took on the responsibility himself but Carry guessed right, saving and holding the penalty low to his left.
After this poor start Distillery did have some ventures forward but nothing troubled the Queens backline or goalkeeper and Carry was called into action after 16 minutes to save a Lorcan McIlroy shot from outside the box and soon after Dan Mairs escaped the attention of the Distillery defence from another set piece but could not find the target.
Distillery did get themselves back into the game after 30 minutes, a Conall Murray free kick was headed behind for a corner, which Curley then rose to meet but saw his header blocked but Lewis Higginson was on hand to force the ball over the line to make it 1-1.
Both sides had sights of goal in the final 15 minutes with both Carry and his opposite number, Dean Smyth, being called into action but ultimately there would be no further goals in the first half and the sides went in 1-1 at the break.
Half Time: Queens University 1-1 Lisburn Distillery
The second half started slowly for both teams but it was the home side who had the first real sight of goal eight minutes after the break when Aaron Smyth was forced to clear a header from a corner off the line.
Distillery had their first sight on goal of the second half just before the hour mark when a foul on Swann about 25 yards from goal gave them a chance to get men into the box but substitute Josh Lynch’s delivery was easily collected by Smyth. The Queens goalkeeper immediately set his side off on the attack and eventually the move ended with McIlroy on the edge of the box with only Carry in front of him, the attacker tried to lob the Whites stopper but could not get enough height and the chance was gone.
Chris Middleton denied by the post in the 62nd minute after Queens quickly countered when a Distillery attack following a throw in broke down. Lynch had another opportunity to threaten the Queens goal with a free kick from 20 yards but his shot just cleared the bar and then in the 75th minute, it was the Whites turn to be frustrated by the woodwork. Smyth slipped when making a clearance and the ball only made it as far as Ballentine who went for goal from about 30 yards but could only watch in astonishment as the ball struck Smyth’s right hand post and the ‘keeper quickly jumped on the loose ball sparing any blushes.
Both sides had made changes throughout the second half to try and find a winner and it eventually paid off for the home side. The Whites defence were slow to react to a cross from the left allowing recently introduced substitute Ciaran O’Hare to nip in and head through Carry’s legs to put Queens ahead with just less than ten minutes to go.
The remaining minutes of the game passed with few chances on goals and Queens managed to see the game out for a three points that you would have to admit they deserved. Unfortunately, that leaves the Whites with two defeats and a draw in their first three league games with attention now turning to the cups for the next two games.
Full Time: Queens University 2-1 Lisburn Distillery
Lisburn Distillery; Carry, Smyth, Murray, Angus, Curley, Morgan, Higginson, McGuinness ©, Grattan, Swann, Ballentine
Lisburn Distillery substitutions; Sinnerton, Robinson (for Murray, 62 mins), Lynch (for Curley, 51 mins), McCart (for McGuinness, 51 mins), Warnock (for Grattan, 72 mins), Shearer (for Swann, 62 mins), Patton
Match report by Cameron Moore @cameron2604
Full picture gallery by David Hunter available to view online @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA5TWj