MICHAEL United are currently looking to emulate the class of 2004, their only GH Corlett Woods Cup success to date, and this realisation took a step closer after they defeated promotion hopefuls Colby 0-2 at the Station Ground in the quarter-final of this year’s competition.
There is talk of a re-union dinner for the Woods Cup-winning alumni from nine years ago, however Saturday’s offering didn’t whet the appetite of the footballing purists.
With the recent wet weather, this had more of an archetypal British get stuck in cup-tie with the footballing clichés of defences on top, midfield battles and clear cut chances at a premium also thrown in.
Colby, who were missing seven first team regulars, had to call up players from their combination side and lacked experience against a footballing savvy Michael Utd.
And although Peter Fisher scored a first-half brace that guaranteed victory, it was the defensive pairing of Antony Corkill and Andrew Berry that caught the eye - they were the rocks in the Michael defence upon which the southern attacks floundered.
Colby started promisingly enough with some smart, slick approach play in the opening throes, capitalising on an inert Michael, however it was the visitors who created the first clear-cut opportunity when Danny Chalk’s impressive run into the opposing half resulted in a shot going wide.
The second chance Michael created on 10 minutes resulted in the opening goal. Kevin Pulman’s corner was met by Corkill whose header was blocked before Ben Dewry’s effort was cleared as far as Fisher who drove his effort into the top right hand corner.
With the match having more of an even feel entering the halfway stage of the first half, the Balleira Road outfit doubled their lead before half-time.
Another Pulman corner was met by Corkill who returned it back to the flag-kick taker and Pulman’s second cross was met by Fisher who rose like a salmon to plant his header into the top left for a peach of a goal.
In the second half, it resembled the battles of the First World War, both sides fighting it out in the mud but resulting in the stalemate, neither side adding to the scoreline.
Colby had the first notable chance when Jack Snidal’s angled drive was well claimed by goalkeeper Will Mitchell at the near post.
Michael came close to adding a third as yet another Pulman corner was mis-judged by shot-stopper Paul Camarda and fell to Adam Fretwell and, under pressure from Fisher, the Colby player’s header hit the top-side of the crossbar, narrowly avoiding the embarrassment of an own goal.
Snidal had a long-range effort just off target in the closing stages as Michael comfortably saw out the victory.
After the final whistle, surely the visitors must have one eye on the final come Good Friday.
Colby: Paul Camarda, Steve Kelly (Ashley Blake 57m), Danny Kniveton, Bobby Kneale, Chris McKenna, Oliver Swales (Adam Young 78m), Jack Snidal, Adam Fretwell, Sam Renshaw, Steven Leece, Ari Ludford-Brooks (Luke Samuels 62m)
Michael United: Will Mitchell, Mike Hammond (Frazer Campbell 86m), Tommy Corlett, Pete Fisher, Adam Dewar (Dave Reynolds 69m), Andrew Berry, Ben Dewry, Kevin Pulman, Antony Corkill, Paul Corlett, Danny Chalk (Richard Crowe 85m)
Referee: Mark Todd
Assistants: Danny Cowin, Willie Cowley
Man of the Match: Corkill (Michael)
Match rating: HHIII
l Elsewhere in the GH Corlett Woods Cup, Ronaldsway booked their place in the semi-finals with a 4-2 victory over Douglas Athletic.
David Harrison and captain Danny O’Hare netted for Athletic but a brace from super sub Liam Crawley plus single strikes by Martin Whitehouse and Andrew Blake were enough to put the Rockets through to the last four.
In a rescheduled first round match, Foxdale v Pulrose was switched to Springfield Road at the last minute because of the condition of Foxdale’s pitch at Billy Goat Park.
Gavin McLoughlin helped himself to a goal for Foxdale but the day belonged to Pulrose as Barry English netted the equaliser and John Paul Glover grabbed the winning goal.
In the only JCK Division Two match to go ahead on Saturday, Douglas Royal thumped bottom-of-the-table Malew 9-1 at Clagh Vane. Paul Whitley smashed in five goals for the Whites and was joined on the scoresheet by Rich Winn, Simon Dooley (2) and Ryan Kelly.