RELEGATION-THREATENED Gymns’ Canada Life Premier League great escape bid took a blow on Saturday as they lost 2-4 to in-form Ramsey in Tromode.
Despite matching their opponents from the north for much of the game, a lack of cutting edge in the final third of the pitch once again proved Kieron Iveagh side’s downfall as they remain second bottom and five points adrift of top-flight safety as the season enters its final furlong.
Farrell Iveagh’s own goal gave the visitors the early initiative on a bobbly Tromode pitch before David Rees’s looped header drew the two sides level nine minutes before the break.
Just as it looked like the two sides would go in on equal terms, Danny Foulis’s fine finish restored Ramsey’s lead, the increasingly prolific Moffatt extending the Ballacloan outfit’s advantage in the second half.
The former Michael man completed his brace in injury time at the end of the fixture before Rees grabbed a second consolation for the hosts when he slotted home a penalty in a frenetic finish to the match.
Gymns started the match brightly enough as they looked to close the gap on third bottom Michael. Things, however, took a disastrous turn for the home side in the eighth minute when Farrell Iveagh sliced Jonny Shield’s centre from the right past his own keeper Phil Ellis.
As the Gymns defence reeled they nearly conceded a second just 60 seconds later when the lively Shields teed up Danny Oram to fire just wide.
The hosts gradually settled and began to temper the vibrant early play of the visitors with some attacks of their own, despite striker Nick Bowden being sidelined with injury.
Rees whistled a volley wide from 25 yards before Lewis Qualtrough nearly matched the own goal scoring antics of Iveagh when his backward header from a deep free kick forced a smart save from Ramsey keeper Andy Perry.
Gymns good spell continued and Perry had to be quick off this line to deny new Tromode recruit Chris Langford – Johnny Cain shooting the loose ball wide.
Despite the pressure, Gymns looked susceptible to quick counter attack and Oram found the side netting after latching onto a long ball forward.
It was, however, Gymns who would be the next to trouble the scorers when Rees’s unconventional header looped over Perry and in to draw his side level.
Ramsey hit back within a matter of minutes and Foulis produced a fine finish after good work by Shields down the right.
Dave Perry and Ray Rowley’s side took this momentum into the second half and Moffatt shot across the face a goal as the northerners made a flying start to the period.
As in the first half, Gymns battled back and skipper Jon Broad forced Perry to tip over after poking goalward from a corner.
Player-manager Kieron Iveagh was the next to test the reactions of Perry before Rees half-volleyed wide after he was found unmarked on the edge of the Ramsey box by the former.
Davies then had a reasonable shout for a penalty turned down by referee David Murphy as the hosts’ piled on the pressure.
As Gymns committed more men forward the game opened up giving Ramsey the chance to further extend their lead. The searing pace of island under 18 winger Matthew Skillicorn had posed questions of Gymns all afternoon and he raced down the right before cutting the ball into Foulis. The latter turned the ball on to Oram who forced a good tip over by Ellis.
Ramsey again hit the hosts on the break minutes later, this time Moffatt scoring a fine individual goal to all but seal the northerners’ third win in four games.
Gymns tried to reduce the deficit but find themselves further behind in the 90th minute when Moffatt added his second of the match after picking the ball up on the halfway line, riding the despairing challenge of Farrell Iveagh before coolly rounding Ellis and slotting in.
There was further excitement to come as Gymns continued to push in injury time at the end of the half when Ramsey defender John Roberts felled Mark McCarrick in the box. Rees stepped up to slot home the spot-kick, but it was too little too late for the hosts whose battle to beat the drop intensifies by the week.
Gymns: Phil Ellis, Jon Broad (c), Chris Langford, Farrell Iveagh, Wayne Mears, Johnny Cain (Chris Connor 82m), David Rees, Roger Davies, Conor Byrne, Kieron Iveagh, Mark McCarrick. Subs not used: Steven Slack and Mike Travers.
Ramsey: Andy Perry, Rob Collister, Jamie Arneil, Lewis Qualtrough, John Roberts, Paul Rowley (c), Jonny Shields (Mark Slinger 83m), Danny Foulis, Jamie Moffatt, Danny Oram, Matthew Skillicorn. Subs not used: Paul Callow and Ian Scott.
Referee: David Murphy
Booking: Arneil (Ramsey)
Man of the Match: Skillicorn (Ramsey) - junior island international coupled his pace with some hard work to put Gymns under pressure all afternoon.
Match rating: HHIII