League Cup runners up Ards were the visitors to New Grosvenor Stadium on Saturday, the Whites going into the game on the back of a win at Annagh Utd.
Hopes of an upset for the Whites were to be short lived in this one as the visitors took the lead on four minutes through Craig McMillan, who firmly hit a strike from range the ball sailing low into the net from twenty yards out.
It would be fair to say Distillery hadn’t settled and indeed could have been two behind a minute later as David McAllister slipped before his shot was cleared by Phillip Simpson.
Niall Currie’s side had started the game with real intensity and swagger and had another chance to go two ahead as David McCullough swung in a corner towards Gary Browne and his header flicked of the crossbar.
Distillery eventually settled somewhat and created their first change of the game on fourteen minutes as Matthew Rooney hit a low drive from the edge of the area but it was to go wide of the target.
Ards went Two-Nil ahead just as Distillery were getting back into the game as Carl McComb held off the challenges to squeeze the ball past McErlean to the delight of the travelling support.
Ards then should have had a third as they cut open the Whites defence as McMillan skipped past Patrick Pearce to cross in to the back post for McAllister but he somehow slashed his shot past the post.
However, Distillery nearly got back into the match as Rooney hit a decent effort from an acute angle the ball sailing just over Rory Browns goal.
Ards were hunting the Whites down in packs very quickly not allowing Murray’s side to progress into the attacking half and as a result the Whites were struggling somewhat.
As the half time whistle blew Ards went in two goals to the good and looking extremely comfortable.
Distillery started the second half well but the final pass was letting them down every pass going straight to the feet of an Ards player, a big disappointment for Sean Paul Murray on the touchline.
Ards nearly had the game wrapped up as McMillan cut inside his shot saved by McErlean the ball rebounding out to McCombe who could only bundle the ball wide.
Distillery made their first change on fifty five minutes bringing off Ethan Knipe replacing him with Lee Chapman and shortly after this Stephen Doyle had a rare sight of goal on fifty six minutes as he took the ball down well but fired just over the crossbar.
Distillery made their second change of the match bringing on Daruis Roohi replacing Phillip Simpson and Roohi was straight into the action as he controlled the ball well played the ball into the feet of Chapman his cross finding Rooney in space before his shot was well saved by Ards ‘keeper Rory Brown.
Chris Begley made a good tackle to deny Jordan Baker as he attempted to cut inside before he could get a shot away on goal but Ards continued to press and once again had a chance to go three ahead as Jordan Baker took the ball on his chest before his shot was well blocked by Ciaran Burns the ball deflecting over the bar when he really should have scored.
Joe McDonnell made a superb tackle to deny Ards’ James Cully, but the third goal eventually came when Burns give away a free kick as McErlean spilled the ball to the feet of Eamon McAllister who duly poked it into the net.
As a result of this game Ards went further clear at the top of the table, and with only nine games left the survival game is becoming increasingly harder for Distillery.
Tomorrow (Saturday), sees Distillery travel to Institute as their bid for survival in NIFL Championship One continues.