Whites storm home at Mullaghacall – Match report
14 January 2023 – Lough 41 Premier Intermediate League
Portstewart 1 Lisburn Distillery 2
“Those were three hard-earned points” – that was the honest verdict from one of the Distillery faithful exiting Mullaghacall as the visitors recorded their first league win since 08th October 2022 (against Moyola Park).
With a Met Office wind and rain morning in place from mid-afternoon, the elements were always going to have an impact but the crucial thing was which side could cope with them best in either half. So with the pitch understanderably heavy and tacky, the game got off with the Whites playing left to right (as viewed from the clubhouse), wind behind them, but Portstewart had a great chance in the opening minutes however the effort went well over the cross-bar.
The Whites made several changes from the midweek defeat at Dollingstown, Johnny Angus coming into defence and Johnny Newell making his debut in midfield.
Jourdan Shearer did fire the ball into the home goal in a quick response to that Portstewart effort but it was ruled out for an infringement – it would be the first of three he put into the Portstewart net and the only one to count came on 17 minutes.
Pearse McVarnock’s corner was headed forward by Shearer, it was deflected up on the cross-bar and went across goal where Angus outjumped everyone to head it down and whilst the ball was cleared off the line Shearer swooped in to whip the ball into the net.
Three minutes later Josh Lynch saw his free-kick well saved by Portstewart goalkeeper Conor Henry, before Henry comfortably gathered a shot from Bobby Robinson. The Whites keep going forward, McVarnock was next to test Henry but the keeper parried the fierce shot. Michael Gallagher headed over the goal on 26 minutes whilst another McVarnock free-kick went over the home goal on 35 minutes.
Portstewart though, almost grabbed an equaliser on the stroke of half-time – they broke forward and Ethan Carrry made a great save to keep out a close-range shot from Ryan Doherty before the ball was cleared to safety.
So the Whites went in one-nil ahead at the break, it should have been maybe two or three but for some fine saves from Henry. Portstewart now had the wind at their backs and clearly the Whites were expected to be under pressure but when the going gets tough, the tough get going and the visitors worked tirelessly to keep Portstewart threats to a minimum.
Shearer had the ball in the net for the final time on 57 minutes but that was ruled out for off-side before Odhran McCart went very close with a header six minutes later.
Portstewart hauled themselves into it on 67 minutes – the ball was worked down the right and sent in low to Ryan Doherty who turned the ball in at the near post – a well-taken goal.
At this stage a few Distillery fans may have feared the worst given conditions but the players worked tirelessly to restrict chances for the home side, amply evidenced by a frantic goalmouth scramble at the away end on 82 minutes before the ball was cleared by Barry Johnston’s men.
And when things looked to be heading for a draw the Whites, who had put men forward when they could, snatched the winner. Substitute Stephen Wilson looked in on goal but the ball was cleared for a corner. That in turn came out to Lynch, he knocked it back across goal and when a headed cearance fell to Adam McCart he fired the ball goalward and a deflection took it past Henry.
McCart was mobbed by his team-mates and the win sees the Whites close the gap to those around them.
Within the hour the weather had got even worse, but it mattered little, the Whites were heading home on the crest of a wave.
Lisburn Distillery – EthanCarry, Jake Willis, Bobby Robinson, Odhran McCart, Johnny Angus, Adam McCart, Josh Lynch, Jonathan Newell (Cieran Clougherty 78 mins), Michael Gallagher (Kian Storey 90+1 mins), Jourdan Shearer (Stephen Wilson 71 mins), Pearse McVarnock (Brendan Shannon 78 mins). Subs not used – Carson Elliott, Matthew Swann,Jack Patton.
Portstewart – Conor Henry, Lee Forgrave, Taylor McBride, Michael Stewart (Jordan Hassan 75 mins), John Watt, Kori Doherty, Lewis Nevin (Nicky Hudson 73 mins), Glenn Law, Ryan Doherty, Ryan Campbell, Luke McConnell (James Peden 85 mins). Sub not used – Ross Stewart.
Referee – Joseph Mullan
Match report by David Hunter, picture gallery also by David Hunter available to view @ https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAotcs