THE latest installment of Isle of Man Newspapers’ Team of the Week was spoilt for choice in the goalkeeping department.
Following the weekend’s games in the Canada Life Premier League, there were no fewer than four goalies in the running for the No1 shirt in the hypothetical XI.
Bulgarian sensations Kiril Velev and Damyan Petkov produced excellent displays in between the sticks for Ramsey and St John’s respectively when the two sides met at Ballacloan on Saturday, culminating in just a single goal throughout the entire 90 minutes going in the latter’s favour.
Peel custodian Stuart Morris was also in inspired form during his team’s trip from the west coast to the east to face title contenders Laxey. The man mountain produced several sublime saves during a first-half Laxey onslaught and helped Peel leave Glen Road with a share of the spoils.
However, donning the goalkeeper gloves in Team of the Week for the first time is Marown shot-stopper Mark Kinley whose heroics kept the previously free-scoring St Mary’s to just two goals when the teams met in Crosby.
Going into that game, the Saints’ goal difference was a remarkable 67 better off than bottom-of-the-table Marown but Kinley’s man-of-the-match display threatened to derail their title hopes.
Lining up in a four-man backline are two more players making their seasonal bow in TotW. DHSOB full-back John Quirk recently re-established his place in the Blackberry Lane first team and was in fine form for Brian Gartland’s men during their emphatic 6-1 victory over Union Mills.
Alongside him is Laxey’s hero Chris Brown who produced a good display at the back for the Miners against Peel before venturing forward and netting the crucial last-minute equaliser to earn his side a point which could prove pivotal in this season’s title race.
Completing the back four are two players who, between them, have amassed an impressive seven TotW appearances already this season. Rushen centre-back Adam Cregeen was in dominant form as he helped the Spaniards shut out their opponents during an impressive 6-0 win over Corinthians at Ballafletcher.
Elsewhere, Team of the Week regular Johnny Myers delivered a standout performance for champions St George’s during their 9-0 demolition of Castletown to earn his fourth TotW appearence of the campaign.
His Glencrutchery Road team-mate Chris Bass Jr continued his recent good run by netting a hat-trick in that game to earn his third successive Team of the Week nomination.
Slotting in alongside the winger in a three-man midfield is Peel’s Marc Kelly and Karl Clark of St Mary’s. Kelly once again showed his class in the middle of the park for the Douglas Road outfit and managed to get his name on the scoresheet to level the sides shortly before half-time.
Clark was deployed in a more attacking role than usual for the Saints but the former Castletown man enjoyed a good game in Crosby and was only denied a goal thanks to a superb save from the aforementioned Kinley.
Leading the line for the hypothetical XI are a trio of players who each scored a hat-trick on Saturday. Ste Riding was the main man for Rushen as he netted three times during the Croit Lowey side’s 6-0 win at Corinthians. Darren Hudgeon also claimed the matchball at Blackberry Lane where he scored a hat-trick to help shoot down Union Mills.
Special mention must go to Geordies youngster Reece Thompson who, at just 16 years old, was in scintillating form as he bagged a hat-trick for the Saints as they hammered Town 9-0.
Collecting the refereeing honours this week is Alan Cowin who edged Gareth Jones after an impressive display in the middle during Ramsey’s game at home to St John’s in the north.
Team of the Week
Mark Kinley (Marown)
Team of the Week appearances: 1
John Quirk (DHSOB) TotW apps: 1
Adam Cregeen (Rushen) TotW apps: 3
Johnny Myers (St George’s) TotW apps: 4
Chris Brown (Laxey) TotW apps: 1
Karl Clark (St Mary’s) TotW apps: 2
Marc Kelly (Peel) TotW apps: 3
Chris Bass Jr (St George’s) TotW apps: 3
Ste Riding (Rushen) TotW apps: 1
Darren Hudgeon (DHSOB) TotW apps: 1
Reece Thompson (St George’s) TotW apps: 1
Alan Cowin (Ramsey v St John’s)
RotW apps: 1