PEEL recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season after overcoming a spirited Gymns side at Tromode in the Canada Life Premier League on Saturday.
The westerners had to work hard for their win after they saw a two-goal advantage wiped out by the hosts before Danny Bell came to the rescue for the Sunset City side, netting two superb goals late on.
On a rain-soaked pitch, the visitors almost got off to a flying start when Kerron Christian broke through the Gymns backline in the fourth minute but his low effort was saved by former Michael shot-stopper Abdur Inceler. Kieron Iveagh’s were then presented with a golden opportunity to shock their more illustrious opponents when midfielder Luke Fisher played a neat ball through to the charging Mark McCarrick only for the striker’s first-time effort to sail narrowly over the crossbar.
Peel suffered an early setback when Lee Gale was forced off injured with what appeared to be a hamstring problem and was replaced by Ryan Burns. They subsequently lacked momentum for the majority of the opening half as Gymns enjoyed a good spell, twice going close through David Rees and Nick Bowden.
However, their hard work came undone late in the half as Peel scored twice in quick succession. There was an element of luck about their first when Christian’s ball found substitute Burns out on the left wing who managed to cut into the area and fire a low cross which deceived Inceler before nestling into the back of the net.
Rob Cottier’s men doubled their advantage right on the stroke of half-time following some good work in the attacking third by Andrew Crennell who fed the ball superbly through the hosts’ defence to Danny Lace who beat the offside trap before expertly slotting the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
After the break Burns almost doubled his tally for the afternoon after escaping the attentions of his marker but Inceler was equal to his fierce effort, clawing it away to safety.
At the other end of the pitch Bowden continued to look menacing and went close after stealing possession deep in Peel territory. He did, however, get his reward just after the hour mark when he latched onto a cross-field pass before taking a touch and rifling the ball past Stuart Morris to reduce the deficit.
The westerners almost restored their two-goal cushion immediately when Lace met Bell’s corner with his head but his goal-bound attempt was deflected behind and from the resulting corner Burns had an effort cleared off the line.
They were made to pay for their misses when Gymns equalised in calamitous fashion in the 68th minute. Bowden did well to keep the ball in play in his own half before cleverly releasing Fisher down the left.
Following an intervention which saw the ball heading for a corner, Morris attempted to collect the ball on the slide, only for it to squirm loose, allowing Fisher to deliver the ball into the box. A goalmouth scramble ensued, before the ball found its way to the feet of Bowden who tapped into the unguarded net.
However, Gymns’ celebrations were cut short in style just a few minutes later when Burns did well down the left before passing to Christian who in turn laid the ball off to Bell about 30 yards from goal. The attacking midfielder had only one thing in his mind and he unleashed a brilliant, unstoppable strike past the flailing dive of Inceler and into the back of the net - a strike worthy of winning any match.
Despite the setback, Gymns continued to take the game to their opponents but any hope of another comeback were dashed with four minutes remaining when Bell bagged another spectacular goal. Andrew Quirk did excellently to brush off the attentions of Farrell Iveagh down the right before delivering an inch-perfect cross to Bell just inside the box who fired a venomous volley past the stranded Inceler.
And Peel’s victory was complete in the dying seconds of the match when Bell turned provider, slipping the ball through to Christian who, on the slide, managed to poke to ball past the onrushing keeper and into the back of the net for 5-2.
Gymns: Abdur Inceler, Barry Hardinge (Jonathan Broad 86m), James Cain, Gareth Gawne, Farrell Iveagh, Mike Booth, Luke Fisher, David Rees (Kieron Iveagh 80m), Steven Malone (Johnny Cain 79m), Nick Bowden, Mark McCarrick
Peel: Stuart Morris, Isaak Flanders (Chris Cain 75m), Kerron Christian, Matthew McQuarrie, Simon Cowley, Rob Cottier, Andrew Quirk, Danny Bell, Andrew Crennell, Lee Gale (Ryan Burns 17m), Danny Lace. Sub not used: Dan Pickering
Referee: Andrew Lodge
Man of the Match: Danny Bell (Peel) - a close call between him and Nick Bowden but ultimately Bell’s late double sealed victory for Peel
Match rating: HHHII