Lisburn Distillery visited Tillysburn Park on Saturday afternoon, when a late comeback wasn’t enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat to Harland and Wolff Welders.
Without three key players in the form of Joe McDonnell, Martin Jones and Stuart Thompson, the Whites would doubtless have been hoping for some sort of response after last week’s poor display against Larne.
Gary Smyth’s side took the lead with their first chance of the game when Michael McClelland headed the ball down for Ryan Deanes and he wrapped his foot around the ball to thump it into the corner. This had Distillery fans fearing the worst against the Irish Cup giant-killers.
It then went from bad to worse for the Whites. Similarly to the first goal, Distillery failed to clear their lines saw the ball gratefully falling to Sammy Devine who smashed low into the bottom corner. It was a nightmare start for the Whites with echoes of the last weekend surrounding the Distillery fans.
Gary Smyth’s side where then a whisker away from their third as the impressive Devine cut inside from the left before shooting inches wide of the upright.
Distillery were chasing shadows in the first half allowing Welders so much time on the ball and if it wasn’t for Ryan McBride they would have been three down as he made a good low save from a rasping McLellan effort. Smyth’s side did however add to their goal tally when Deanes scored his second of the game as his shot zipped into the net.
Lisburn Distillery suddenly found a bit of drive and were straight back in the game when Jimmy McIlhagga scored a superb individual goal when he picked up the ball from deep and drove towards the Welders defence before shooting low into the net past Docherty.
McBride made a simply sensational save to keep Distillery in the hunt for a potential comeback when he clawed Devine’s shot off the line, a contender for save of the season.
Whatever was said at half-time must have inspired the Distillery players as they came out with much more fluency and urgency.
Distillery were then seemingly back from the dead as they scored the all-important first goal of the half when Sean Southam ended his recent goal drought after he turned the ball into an empty net after the ball had rebounded off the crossbar.
McBride then denied Chris Middleton as he hit a shot sweet as a nut from an acute angle. The keeper was yet again putting in another fantastic performance, showing why he’s regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the division.
It was a much better performance in the second half by Distillery but wasn’t enough to salvage a point.