IF YOU’RE going to sign off, sign off in style. Douglas Royal played their last home league fixture of the current season at Ballafletcher on Saturday afternoon and treated the faithful to a well-deserved 5-1 win over an inconsistent Braddan.
Although they currently occupy fourth place with more games played than the chasing pack, this will eventually be surrendered once the remaining teams play their games in hand.
But there is a real buzz around Royal at the moment and there is a feeling they can’t wait for the 2013-14 season to start.
However, it was Braddan who made the more promising start, opening the scoring after just five minutes with a move engineered along the right resulted in Mark Watterson playing the ball inside to Geoff Murphy to jab home the opening strike for the visitors.
The blues went close again soon after when Watterson’s header was well claimed by goalkeeper Ian Took while at the other side of the park Richard Winn drove a stinging shot at Craig Hardie.
Patiently, Royal bided their time pressing their opponents in their own half, building intelligently from the back and, following a free-kick awarded on the right, the hosts equalised. Andrew Lancaster curved the set-piece into the mixer where it flicked off Ryan Kelly and looped into the roof of the net.
It was the intelligent runs of full-back Matthew Entwhisle on the half-hour mark which helped give the hosts an important foothold in this fixture. Greg Hoskisson showed good vision from centre midfield with a measured, diagonal pass aimed to the left which Entwisle latched onto and finished with a well-taken strike as the Whites took the lead for the first time.
Four minutes later saw a near carbon copy of the second goal. On this occasion, Winn shielded the ball providing another diagonal through-ball to Royal’s number two Entwistle who again showed good composure to thrust in their third.
Will Smith came close to reducing the deficit for Braddan when his header hit the crossbar, while after the break Adam Boyd thought he had extended Royal’s advantage only for his goal to ruled out for offside
However, there was no mistake around the hour mark when the hosts sprung a classic counter attack, Kelly’s pass freeing Winn who drove a shot into the top left corner to make it 4-1.
Four became five when Kelly provided a diagonal through-ball to find Simon Dooley in acres of space and he slotted home.
Royal could have finished with a bigger margin but for some laxidasical finishing. Ford’s clear header went well wide of the target and, with the goal staring straight at him, Lancaster struck the post. Watterson had Braddan’s best chance in the closing stages, skying an effort over from close range - the ball must still be orbiting Earth.
Douglas Royal: Ian Took, Matthew Entwisle, Adam Boyd, Greg Hoskisson, Kevin Ballard (Paddy Dempsey 74m) Richie McCann, Nick Ford, Andrew Lancaster, Gavin Gawne, Ryan Kelly, Richard Winn (Simon Dooley 75m). Sub not used: Nicky Smith
Braddan: Craig Hardie, John McMullen, Steve Robertson, Peter Dunn, Lee Ramsden, Paul Ramsden, (Lee Currer H-T), Paul Crilly, Will Smith, Michael Shimmin (Gil Walmsley 60m), Geoff Murphy, Mark Watterson
Referee: Danny Cowin
Assistant: Michael Crabtree
Booked: Robertson (Braddan)
Man of the Match: Matt Entwisle (Royal)
Match rating: HHHII
l Elsewhere in JCK Division Two, Michael United remain on course for the league title thanks to a 3-1 victory over Douglas Athletic at Balleira Road.
Goals from Kieran Quinn, Danny Chalk and Paul Corlett gave the westerners a comfortable 3-0 lead at half-time before David Harrison pulled a goal back for Athletic in the second half.
They remain four pouints clear of RYCOB with a game in hand after Youthie secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Douglas and District at Scoill Ree Gorree courtesy of goals from Michael Nixon and Graham Kennish. Robbie Hay netted D&D’s consolation.
Colby are also still in with a chance of sealing promotion to the Premier League after they thumped Onchan 5-0 at the Station Fields. Adam Fretwell led the way with two goals and was joined on the scoresheet by Sam Renshaw, Brandon Law and Harry Best.
Jason Craine and Chris Duggan both notched braces as Ayre thumped Pulrose 5-1. George Rawlinson also scored for the northerners while Barry English netted Pully’s sole reply. The Tangerines remain in fifth place but have games in hand on all sides above them.
Malew clinched the local bragging rights in the southern derby thanks to a 2-1 win at Ronaldsway. Jack Powell netted for the hosts but strikes from Craig Howard and Dean Kinley sealed a rare victory for bottom-of-the-table Malew.