There’s something about games between Coagh and Lisburn Distillery. Last October, Coagh went down 9-0 to Lisburn, this year the game was even more remarkable.
Eight goals, four penalties, four yellow cards and seven red cards reflects the game in numbers but it doesn’t go close to summing up this Championship One fixture at Hagan Park.
A 96th minute penalty save for Coagh rescued a point for the Tyrone men but the game was an extraordinary affair.
Coagh were heading towards a well earned and much needed three points, before a melee 15 minutes from time. The referee decided to take action against, issuing a sea of red cards to both teams.
Four Coagh players, one a substitute and two Lisburn Distillery players saw red. Referee Ferguson wasn’t finished there dishing out his seventh red and Coagh’s fifth when he sent off James Ferguson five minutes into injury time.
This action packed game only took 48 seconds to see its first goal. Coagh’s defence failed to deal with a Distillery throw in and Ally Wilson, took full advantage and drilling his shot low into the bottom corner.
Coagh didn’t let this setback get them down and began to create chances.
Coagh’s pressure was rewarded, 13 minutes in, when Jamie Tomelty’s cross was met by Gillespie who guided his header into the top corner of net.
Three minutes later, Coagh took the lead, when Distillery’s Kris Pike tripped Lamont in the box leaving the referee no option but to award the penalty. Gillespie accepted the opportunity and coolly slotted home from the spot.
A Stephen Glasgow injury forced Coagh to introduce Aaron Thornton. Coagh went into half time the happier of the two sides with a deserved 2-1 lead.
Ten minutes into the second half, referee Ferguson awarded a second penalty. Distillery’s keeper failed to clear the ball after a defensive mix-up and brought down Lamont just inside the penalty box. Gillespie stepped up again and despatched the penalty low to the keeper’s left for his hat-trick and Coagh’s third.
On 71 minutes, Coagh made it 4-1 when Stephen Lamont guided his shot into the corner of Distillery’s goal after a Steven Park pass.
Mikey Withers made it 4-2 to Lisburn Distillery on 75 minutes, and then an altercation took place, between Distillery’s Ally Wilson and Coagh’s David Calderwood. More players got involved.
Referee Ferguson had to rely on help from his assistant and took his time to dish out the red cards.
For supporters of both teams they probably have never seen 6 red cards being issued at one time. The players who saw red were, for Coagh, David Calderwood, Marcus Dallas, Aaron Thornton and sub Aaron Campbell, and for Distillery, Ally Wilson and Glen Upton.
With Coagh down to eight men and Distillery down to nine, Distillery didn’t take long to make their numerical advantage count. On 82 minutes, James Ferguson’s tackle saw a third penalty awarded which Thompson placed to the Coagh’s keepers left to make it 4-3.
Both sides made changes and this gave Lisburn a more attacking threat and this showed as in the 90th minute as Ben Browne, another Distillery subs, made it 4-4 as his well hit 25 yard shot.
In added time, the drama continued. James Ferguson gave away another penalty but this time referee Ferguson adjudged that James Ferguson had went in with a two footed tackle and sent the seventh player and Coagh’s fifth off the pitch.
However, William Hassan saved Stuart Thompson’s 96th minute penalty to rescue a 4-4 draw for Coagh. This game showed that Coagh can compete with the top sides, however it will be remembered as one of the most incredible games ever played at Hagan Park. Game sponsored by Bathe NI.
Coagh United: Hassan, McGeown, Glasgow (Thornton 35), Calderwood, Ferguson, Tomelty, Park, Donaldson, Gillespie, Dallas, Lamont (McCordick 84). Subs: Kempton, Campbell, Young.
Lisburn Distillery: McBride, Thompson, Pike, Alderdice, Nixon (Tweedie 84), Kingsberry, Wright (Browne 64), McIlhagga, Upton, Withers, Wilson.
Referee: Ferguson. Assistants: Campbell and Watt.
The committee and players of Coagh United wish to express their sympathy to the McKeown family of Drumbonaway foloowing the death of Norman. He had been a club member. Condolences to his wife, Jean, and their two sons, Albert and Stanley.