MAROWN finally secured their first points of the Canada Life Premier League season on Saturday when they beat fellow strugglers Castletown 2-1 at a soggy Memorial Playing Fields.
Whether their hard-fought win will be enough to kick-start the division’s bottom side’s survival bid remains to be seen, but David Brew’s charges now have renewed hope as they sit just five points off safety with 10 games still left to play.
Town will be left ruing a defeat that leaves them embroiled in a battle to beat the drop. Gary Sansbury’s southerners were the sharper side in the first half and enjoyed a number of chances that would have put them on the road to a second successive victory and a step closer to preserving the club’s top-flight status.
However, with just his side’s 10th goal of the season Niall Quayle gave the home team the lead midway through the second period. Ash Sansbury drew Town level moments later, but then disaster was to strike for the Stadium outfit as Stuart Butterworth headed an unfortunate own goal to hand a jubilant Marown the spoils.
As mentioned it was Town that made the brighter start to the encounter and they would have taken an eighth-minute lead had it not been for Neil Withers’s goal-line block. The Crosby side’s seasoned full-back clearing Max Perry’s smart flick from a Ash Sansbury corner after Marown keeper Mark Kinley could only parry it.
Driven forward by fleet-footed playmakers Perry and Lee Davenport, Town belied the deteriorating conditions to put pressure on a Marown defence that has shipped 62 goals so far this season.
However, led by centre-backs Michael Wheeler and talented teen Cameron Avery the hosts held firm and a Town frontline missing the prolific Alex Crawley began to run out of an inspiration as a tight first half drew to a close.
Half-chances for Martin Charker and Davenport came and went, but with Town unable to repeat their goalscoring heroics of the previous week’s 0-7 win over Ramsey the pair turned around level.
The Stadium side’s inability to covert pressure into goals soon came back to haunt them as Marown began the second 45 the brighter side.
The ever-green Juan Killip went close before the Quayle hinted at what was to come when he sprinted clear only to be denied by the fine covering challenge of Butterworth.
Opportunities continued to come the way of the hosts. Gary Christian seeing his well-struck effort deflected narrowly wide before Kevin Druggan crashed a header from a Withers corner just off-target.
Marown’s good spell finally bore some fruit in the 68th minute. Quayle was released down the left, the former Peel man’s resulting shot initially looked to have been collected by Jake Sansbury in the Town goal only for the keeper to spill the ball in the slippery conditions and allow Quayle to fire home from a very tight angle.
With their tails up Marown nearly added a second, but Quayle was this time was denied by a fine save from Sansbury as his stinging low shot from inside the box looked set to arrow into the back of the net.
A handling error at the other end of the pitch then led to Castletown’s equaliser, home keeper Mark Kinley fumbling a cross from the right and then conceding a free-kick on the edge of the area as he attempt to retrieve the ball.
Ash Sansbury took it, curling a low shot past the former Foxdale number one to restore parity to the fixture just five minutes after Marown had edged in front.
Michael Edge went close for the visitors as they nearly took the lead, but it was Marown who would get their noses in front when some miss-communication between Butterworth and Jake Sansbury saw the former head Killip’s long punt past his own keeper and into the back of his own net.
In the remaining 12 minutes Town pushed forward against an at times panicky Marown, but as had been the story of the first half, the visitors failed to really test Kinley and the home side held on to claim what could turn out to be a pivotal three points.
Marown: Mark Kinley, Alex McQuarrie, Cameron Avery, Michael Wheeler, Neil Withers, Richard Mulhern, Gary Christian, Kevin Druggan (Paul Timpson 73m), Juan Killip, Neil Sharpe (Josh Clancey 61m), Niall Quayle. Sub not used: Eunan Timmins
Castletown: Jake Sansbury, Tom Charmer, Stuart Butterworth, Kevin Cain, Ash Sansbury, Lee Davenport, Brett Allcote, Evan Johnstone, Max Perry, Martin Charker (PJ Martin 63m), Michael Edge. Sub not used: Danny McMahon.
Referee: Ian Fisher
Assistants: Matty Evans, Huw Matthews
Man of the Match: Avery (Marown) youngster shone at the back with Michael Wheeler for the hosts
Match Rating: 2*