10-man St John’s hit back to deny Old Boys
ST John’s twice came from behind to claim what could turn out to be a vital point for their Railway Cup qualification fund at Mullen-e-Cloie on Saturday.
Opponents Douglas High School Old Boys, who themselves are within four points of the Canada Life Premier League’s coveted top-four spots, edged ahead half an hour in when Callum Stewart slotted home after a quick counter spearheaded by twin brother Craig.
Fourth-place St John’s hit back in the 78th minute when Andy Glover crashed home a sweetly struck half-volley from the edge of the area to set up a dramatic final 10 minutes. First Andy Glover was sent off and Old Boys awarded a penalty after the former Foxdale and Pulrose man palmed away a goal-bound effort from the Blackberry Lane outfit. Craig Stewart duly converted from the spot to give his side the lead with just three minutes left on the clock.
The Saints, however, weren’t done there and almost straight from the restart burst into the Old Boys’ box where Jamie Moffatt was felled. Referee Andy Lodge once again pointed to the spot, where Johnners’ player-manager Nick Hurt coolly converted to give his side a deserved share of the spoils.
St John’s were dealt a blow before kick-off with the news that Craig Dolman and Sam Ingham had injured themselves at work that morning. The latter would start in central defence, but only with a heavily strapped hand. To further compound that news in-form striker Stephen Glover would be forced to start on the bench after injuring his ankle in the warm up.
The Saints took time to adjust to their last-minute reshuffle as Old Boys began the brighter of the two sides driven forward by the irrepressible Stewart brothers. Indeed only a fine point-blank save from Saints goalkeeper Gary Burgess denied Craig Stewart’s header after the Old Boys’ skipper had connected well with David Quirk’s centre from the right.
Old Boys keeper Sam Holliday twice had to be alert to deny Moffatt, but it was Old Boys who looked the brighter of the two sides in attack and took the lead in the 30th minute in slightly contentious circumstances. With St John’s appealing for a penalty at one end of the pitch, Old Boys broke at typical speed down the right flank – Callum Stewart ultimately teeing up his brother Craig to give his side the lead.
The visitors finished the half the stronger and went close to adding to their lead. David Quirk saw his in-swinging cross from the left headed over his own bar by Andy Glover, before Quirk’s stinging drive was deflected narrowly wide by Nick Leung after another swift Old Boys counter.
Craig Stewart went even closer in the 44th minute when his flicked header from Robbie Ward’s deep free-kick was cleared off the line by Hurt.
Old Boys were again the sharper out of the blocks at the start of a fiery second period as Blackberry Lane marksman Cal Stewart twice went close to doubling his side’s lead.
The Johnners, however, slowly began to grow in confidence and only some solid and at times spectacular defending from the Old Boys’ rearguard stopped the hosts from equalising before they did.
Ingham’s hopeful ball to the edge of the area found Glover who turned smartly and half-volleyed goalwards a searing shot that bounced up and over Holliday in the DHSOB goal.
Then came the absorbing conclusion to the match. Glover saw red before Craig Stewart and Hurt converted two impressive penalties. Indeed Old Boys nearly capped the grandstand finish at the end only for Martin King’s poked effort to be cleared off the line by St John’s midfielder Louis Morris in time added on.
St John’s: Gary Burgess, Eric Kelly, Sam Ingham, Nick Leung, Johnny Holland, John Wrigley (Krasmir Stoev 58m), Louis Morris, Nick Hurt, Andy Glover ©, John Haggerdon (Stephen Glover 67m), Jamie Moffatt.
DHSOB: Sam Holliday, Tommy Miller, Liam Buckley, Martin King, John Quirk, Phil Knox (Chris Clinton 58m), Mike Hooper, Robbie Ward (David Rees 80m), David Quirk, Craig Stewart ©, Callum Stewart
Referee: Andy Lodge
Assistants: Neshko Marimov and Mark Thomas
Booked: A. Glover (St John’s)
Sent-off: A. Glover (St John’s)
Man of the Match: Craig Stewart (DHSOB) - Old Boys skipper and twin brother Callum tormented Saints defence all game
Match rating: HHHII
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