AN extraordinary match, a sensational comeback, this has to be the best match I’ve seen so far this season in Manx football’s second tier.
Hosts Ayre United had raced into a 3-1 half-time lead before a Lazarus-style comeback from Michael saw the JCK Division Two leaders fire in three goals and clinch a 3-4 victory in what has to go down as one of United’s greatest games.
It was a good day all round for the Aces with the chasing pack all dropping points meaning the westerners move five points clear at the top.
Manager Barney Kelly has his side focussed on that number one spot.
A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in memory of Lawrence Gell, a former Michael Utd player who was tragically killed last week.
Once referee Mark Thomas blew his whistle, the calm was broken by two fired-up sides.
It was the visitors who opened their account first.
Andrew Berry’s long throw was launched into a congested penalty area before flicking off a tangerine shirt and finding its way into the hosts’ goal.
Snapping away at the visitors, Ayre rallied to the cause, equalising in the 24th minute.
Stephen Parrish’s free-kick was met by Jason Craine at the far post, the former Silver Boot winner heading home a poacher’s goal into the top-left corner of the Michael goal.
The hosts started to turn the screw, as the first half drew to a close - Ayre firing in two goals within three minutes to give themselves a 3-1 lead and what should have been a platform to victory.
Michael goalkeeper Will Mitchell’s missed a testing ball which rebounded off a Michael shirt. Phil Quayle picked up the pieces to make it 2-1.
Seconds before half-time, a through-ball was received by Craine on the left who raced away to slot in an accomplished finish for the Tangerines’ third.
In the second half, Michael’s tremendous team spirit shone through.
Just a minute after the restart the ball was played into the United box. Ayre goalkeeper Toby Hedges looked to have gathered the danger, but spilled the ball into Antony Corkill’s path to slot home.
This was real end-to-end stuff as the match opened up like a cup tie and Corkill made an important goal-line block when Ayre looked certain to score.
Clearly buoyed from netting their second, Michael equalised.
Ben Drewry raced along the right, his cross was palmed to Paul Corlett who fired his strike into the goal.
The winner came on 75 minutes. Drewry pushed a through-ball to Pete Fisher who cut in from the right before firing a low shot that rebounded off the far post before hitting the net.
Ayre threw everything forward in the remaining quarter of an hour but Michael held firm to clinch yet another important victory.
Ayre Utd: Toby Hedges, Kris Murdoch, Mark Cain, George Rawlinson, Stephen Parish, Gordon Heward (James Teare 73m), Stephen Jordan, (Luke Rowe 87m), Paul Kennish, Phil Quayle, Jason Craine, Chris Duggan. Sub not used: Paul Allison
Michael: Will Mitchell, Michael Hammond, Tommy Corlett, Peter Fisher, Richard Crowe (Michael Perks 78m) Andrew Berry, Ben Drewry (Brian Brew 90m), Kevin Pulman, Antony Corkill, Paul Corlett, Andrew Williamson
Referee: Mark Thomas
Man of the Match: Corkill (Michael)
Match rating: HHHHH