Laxey’s run ends at 10-man Corinthians
CORINTHIANS produced a stirring performance to end Laxey’s winning start to the Canada Life Premier League season at Ballafletcher on Saturday afternoon.
Despite being reduced to 10 men early in the contest, the Whites appeared to be on course for a superb victory over the title hopefuls from Glen Road thanks to Chris Cannell’s first-half strike.
However, Laxey eventually made their numerical advantage count as substitute Max Murley headed in an equaliser to seal a share of the points.
Corinthians began the match positively and looked to take the game to their opponents from the off but the action soon turned to controversy at both ends of the pitch. The hosts were left aggrieved after seeing a strong penalty appeal turned down by referee John McCallum after Jamie Stoy appeared to be bundled over in the box by Laxey skipper Neil Brogan as he bore down on goal.
To make matters worse, Johnny McDowell’s men were reduced to 10 men just before the 15-minute mark. A deep free-kick was only half-punched clear by Whites goalkeeper Joe Kelly - who was possibly fouled in the process - and fell kindly to Laxey midfielder Paul Rowley on the edge of the box. With Kelly stranded, Rowley immediately fired goalwards only to see Corinthians defender Chris Feeney instinctively use his hand to tip the ball onto the crossbar to prevent the goal.
Referee McCallum was left with no choice but to issue the red card and award the penalty to make Corinthians’ task even harder.
However, there was some respite for the home side as in-form Ashley Webster sent the resultant spot kick wide of the target.
Despite being reduced to 10 men, the hosts refused to go on the defensive and instead attempted to up the tempo. Kane Ridings proved to be a good outlet for the hosts during the opening 45 and the winger was instrumental in creating the opening goal after embarking on a mazy run through the Laxey defence before being fouled on the edge of the box.
Louis Thornton’s set-piece was parried by visiting shot-stopper Andy Perry but Whites defender Chris Cannell was quickest to react to the loose ball and was able to turn home the rebound to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Laxey tried to respond immediately but struggled to find a way past a resilient defence, with the best chance falling to Brogan following a corner from Rowley but the captain’s header was well blocked by Ryan Burns.
Both sides then traded chances as half-time approached and Corinthians could, and probably should, have doubled their advantage. Thornton delivered a brilliant cross from the right wing to the back post where Blane Slattery rose highest to meet it but his thumping header crashed back off the crossbar and away to safety.
Webster then latched onto a long ball at the other end of the pitch and tried his luck with a stinging half-volley but Kelly was equal to the shot and tipped it round the post so the score remained 1-0 at the interval.
Whatever Steve Falconer said at half-time clearly had the desired effect as his Laxey side emerged for the second half with renewed purpose and immediately went close through Mark Wolfenden but his shot was saved by Kelly.
Jackson Brown also tried his luck with a half-volley which flew across the face of goal and went narrowly wide while Rowley saw a deflected shot saved.
Despite the Laxey pressure, Corinthians nearly scored at the other end when Jamie Stoy’s excellent cross was met by the sliding Ridings but his poked effort went just the wrong side of the post with Perry beaten. They were almost made to pay for that miss shortly after the hour mark when the ball broke loose to Laxey winger Josh Thomas and his angled shot seemed destined for the back of the net until Whites full-back Tom Callister somehow managed to divert the ball narrowly over from underneath his own bar.
The hosts’ resistance was finally broken with 17 minutes remaining when a corner was only half-cleared to Thomas who swung in a quality cross and substitute Max Murley leapt above the defence to glance a header past the despairing dive of Kelly into the bottom corner to restore match parity.
However, the Miners almost found themselves behind again when the ball dropped to Slattery inside the box with just Perry to beat but the goalkeeper stood tall and managed to save superbly at point-blank range.
Cannell also went close to netting his second of the game minutes later but his angled shot flew just over the bar while at the other end Danny Foulis shot wide after a weaving run into the box.
The final few minutes of the game saw Laxey camped inside the Corinthians half in an attempt to steal victory and, deep into injury time, almost snatched it at the death when sub Shaun Kelly found a yard of space inside the box and fired a half-volley goalwards but, agonisingly, the ball drifted just wide of the target and Corinthians held on for a deserved point.
Corinthians: Joe Kelly, Tom Callister, Darren Cain (c), Chris Feeney, Ryan Burns, Lewis Griffiths (Simon Nicol 84m), Louis Thornton, Blane Slattery, Jamie Stoy, Kane Ridings (Mickey Callister 67m). Sub not used: Ste Corran
Laxey: Andy Perry, Gary Williams, Ryan Williamson, Neil Brogan (c), Sam Theobald, Paul Rowley, Danny Foulis, Josh Thomas (Fraser Vaughan 76m), Jackson Brown (Shaun Kelly 76m), Ashley Webster, Mark Wolfenden (Max Murley 64m)
Referee: John McCallum
Assistants: Peter Crompton and Matty Evans
Sent off: Chris Feeney (Corinthians)
Booked: Jamie Stoy (Corinthians)
Man of the Match: Louis Thornton - dynamic performnce from the midfielder who was also forced to play in defence following Feeney’s sending off
Match rating: HHHII
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Weather for Isle of Man
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 13 C
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