WITH The Belfast GDC now on a winter break Lisburn Distillery U-9s took the chance to bring fellow premiership academy side Glentoran to their training base at Colin Valley for some friendly games and a very worthwhile exercise it turned out to be.
Half of the boys used one of the smaller pitches for a 5-a-side game and a very entertaining encounter it turned out to be too. The Wee Whites raced into an early lead with Kenzie Bradley and the excellent Jonathan McCullough both getting their name on the scoresheet in the first period. A couple of goalkeeping errors let the East Belfast team back into the contest and Ben Gilliland had to be at his best in the Whites defence to keep the marauding attackers at bay. Matthew Moore got himself a goal before defender Miichael Rocks got the biggest cheer of the day by getting a rare but well deserved goal.
The bigger pitch saw a 7-a-side game against an excellent Glentoran side. The U-9s were caught napping and conceded two goals in the first minute before they had managed to touch the ball but recovered their composure to produce a superb display in the first period. Jake Donaghy was pulling the strings in the middle of the park and Glentoran were struggling to cope with Jake’s composure on the ball and Bradley Ingram’s pace and power on the right wing and Bradley deservedly pulled a goal back for the men in white. Numerous other goal-scoring opportunities were created but a mixture of a lack of composure at the vital minute and some superb goalkeeping from the Glentoran custodian kept the boys from adding to the scoreline. Conall Cunningham then went on a mazy run but just as he was about to pull the trigger the Glentoran number eight who was having a great game in defence used his strength to get back a deny a goalscoring chance. It was then Ross White’s turn to get in on goal after picking the pocket of a defender but again the keeper who was almost unbeatable on the day made a superb save. The advice at the break was more of the same please but Glentoran started to take charge of the game with numbers seven and nine taking control and Ben Coulter in the Whites defence was having the game of his life to try and keep these two top class players quiet but was helpless as a few goals were conceded. The third period saw the ‘cock and hens’ dominate and again it was numbers seven and nine who were causing all the damage and both got goals with either well struck free kicks into the top corner which Lewis Doyle in the Distillery goal was much too small to get anywere near or great finishes after both players had combined superbly. Another step on the learning curve for this promising Distillery team and hopefully the next time the two teams meet the boys in white can test this first class Glentoran side for a longer period of time.