PEEL cruised into the semi-finals of the Paddy Power FA Cup on Saturday with a 6-2 win over fellow Premier League outfit Ramsey at the westerners’ temporary residence of Mullen-e-Cloie.
Island international Lee Gale was the ‘home’ team’s star turn, bagging four goals as Rick Holden’s side produced an impressive attacking display to overcome their spirited opponents and a set-up a tantalising last-four tie with St George’s.
Brian Carney’s top-flight strugglers belied their patchy league form in the match’s opening 10 minutes as they made a bright start against their more illustrious opponents.
However, the visitors couldn’t turn the early pressure of Messrs Fernandes, Halsall and Torr into clear-cut chances and they fell behind in the game played at St John’s because of the building works at Douglas Road just shy of the quarter of the hour mark when Gale dispatched a crisp finish past Kiril Velev in the Ramsey goal.
The competition’s most successful side doubled their advantage 10 minutes later when midfielder Marc Kelly slotted home after the Ramsey defence had failed to clear a Peel skirmish on their goal.
Peel’s two-goal lead was halved barely 60 seconds later, however, as Michael Fernandes raised hopes of a northern comeback when he crashed in from just inside the Peel box at the second time of asking.
The former Laxey forward’s first goal of the afternoon was to prove a momentary blip as Gale conjured up another neat finish to restore his side’s two-goal lead in the 27th minute.
Peel’s third goal sparked a period of dominance for the westerners and Andy Quirk went close to adding a fourth forcing Velev to tip onto the bar before Gale all but sealed his side’s advancement from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.
Daniel Bell was adjudged to have been brought down in the box by Matthew Montgomery and Gale made no mistake from the spot to give his side a comfortable 4-1 cushion at the break.
The former Foxdale winger started the second period as he had finished the first netting his side’s fifth barely a minute after the restart.
Gale took down Kelly’s lovely cross-field pass to the right hand side of the Ramsey box before firing a well-hit half volley past the Ballacloan outfit’s Bulgarian goalkeeper.
Peel added further gloss to the scoreline in the 58th minute when on a rare sortie forward centre-back Rob Cottier squared the ball across the face of goal to Quirk who tapped in from a matter of yards out.
To their credit Ramsey continued to battle and their toil was rewarded for a second time midway through the second half when Fernandes grabbed another after Brago Smilyanov had dispossessed the Peel defence.
As both sides brought on substitutes, the game’s tempo fell away a little and became mired in the midfield third. However, both had one last chance to add to their respective tallies as the tie meandered to its almost foregone conclusion.
Fernandes flashed an effort over the bar from 20 yards, before Peel skipper Cottier went even closer with a firm header from a Gale corner from the right.
Peel will now look ahead to this Friday evening’s semi-final against the Grand Slam hopefuls and a chance to show they can still mix it with Manx football’s elite.
Peel: Stuart Fayle, Matthew Woods (Kevin Megson 67m), Rob Cottier (c), Andrew Crennell, Daniel Lace, Lee Gale, Daniel Bell, Rowan Richardson (Daniel Pickering 72m), Marc Kelly (Alex Cowley 75m), Andy Quirk, Kerron Christian.
Ramsey: Kiril Velev, Daniel Tate (Jordan Kelly 60m), John Roberts (c), Lewis Qualtrough (Alex Yates 72m), Robbie Callister, Martin Torr (Liam Parker 50m), Matty Montgomery, Robbie Campbell, Brago Smilyanov, Kris Halsall, Michael Fernandes.
Referee: Scott Campion
Assistants: John McCallum and Mark Thomas
Man of the Match: Gale (Peel) - island winger put Ramsey to the sword with four well-taken goals
Match rating: HHHHI