LISBURN Distillery U-9s returned to action on Saturday after a well deserved weeks break and it was a cold and frosty morning that greeted them at St. Malachys.
First up was a game against Carnmoney and the Wee Whites didn’t disappoint putting on an excellent display which show-cased the progress the boys have made. The opening exchanges were pretty even as the hard working Carnmoney gave a good account of themselves but after Lennox Young pounced to open the scoring the boys started to take control with Jonathan McCullough having a big influence on the game whether it be from the right or left hand side of the team. Michael Rocks was having an excellant game in defence and was ably assisted by his partner in crime Ben Gilliland. The left footed Xander Power finished off a flowing move with a superb finish with his supposed weaker right foot. Noah Perry also got his name on the scoresheet before Matthew Moore’s storming run out of defence nearly ended with a goal of the season contender only for Matty to drag his shot wide.
Game two saw the boys having to show character and determination as well as the footballing skills we know they possess against a very strong and tough Sydenham side. The boys from East Belfast started off well and were the better side during the opening exchanges, creating a few half chances that were dealt with comfortably by Lewis Doyle in the Distillery goal, but as the first period wore on the men in White started to get a grip on the game and Ross White was extremely unlucky when he lobbed the advancing keeper only to see the ball drop agonisingly wide. As the game progressed the Sydenham keeper was definitely the busiest player on the pitch and made a string of excellent saves to keep the Wee Whites at bay. The deadlock was broken when Jake Donaghy fed Ross White and when Ross spotted Kenzie Bradley coming in from his wide right position he played him in with a perfectly weighted pass, Kenzie still had a lot to do but showed great composure to rifle the ball home. Although Distillery were now on top the outstanding Spencer Maxwell ably assisted by Ben Coulter had to be on top of their games in the Whites defence as Sydenham still looked dangerous on the break.
Jake Donaghy and Conall Cunningham started to look increasingly dangerous and Jake looked to have scored but his sublime free kick rebounded back off the cross-bar. It was then Conall’s turn and after a mazy run which left defenders trailing in his wake his shot hit the post, Noah Kelly who had taken up a great position at the back post looked to have the simple task of tapping the rebound in from close range only to see the ball bounce just inches past his out-stretched boot. Sydenham got a goal against the run of play when a long range free kick cruelly deflected into the bottom corner. The U-9s weren’t finished though and an another mesmerising Conall Cunningham run ended with a shot that found the bottom corner. Two great performances from the Wee Whites and although the coaching staff are reluctant to pick out individuals it would also be unfair not to mention Jake Donaghy, Spencer Maxwell and Conall Cunningham were outstanding on the day.