DEFENDING champions St George’s roared into the semi-finals of this season’s Paddy Power-sponsored FA Cup with a crushing 0-16 victory over Castletown at the Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Calum Morrissey led the way for the Grand Slam winners with a four-goal haul and was helped by hat-tricks by Ciaran McNulty and Sam Caine. There were also braces from Frank Jones and captain Sean Quaye while single strikes by Chris Bass Jr and James McStay sealed what is thought to be a record home defeat for Castletown.
The Saints wasted little time in stamping their authority on proceedings in the south when they almost took the lead within five minutes but a half-volley from the lively Caine was deflected wide. The resulting corner then ended up in the back of the net but the goal was ruled out for an infringement in the build-up.
But it wasn’t long before Geordies scored the first of many as they broke the deadlock in style in the eighth minute. Morrissey dropped deep to collect the ball and delivered a superb pass over the top for his strike partner McNulty to latch onto and the Saints number nine lifted a sublime lob over the onrushing Jake Sansbury and into the net for 0-1.
The visitors doubled their advantage less than two minutes later thanks to another fine goal. Bass Jr was the architect as he won possession on the left flank before driving forward and delivering a teasing ball behind the Town defence to Jones who expertly side-footed the ball into the far corner.
And it was soon 0-3 to Geordies when the impressive Liam Cowin produced an excellent ball through the heart of the hosts’ defence to Morrissey who took a touch before rifling in a left-footed shot to put the game almost out of sight with less than 15 minutes played.
The Geordies onslaught continued a few minutes later through some neat play down the left flank involving Julian Ringham who released Bass Jr with a chipped pass and the winger crossed to Caine who bundled the ball home from close range.
Sansbury produced a superb save to keep out Johnny Myers’s fierce volley and McNulty fired just over following good play by McStay and Caine before Myers went close again when his header was cleared off the line and he shot into the side netting seconds later.
However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic in the first half and Martin Charker very nearly reduced the deficit in spectacular fashion for Castletown with a free-kick from just inside the Geordies half but, although his thunderous strike arrowed past visiting goalkeeper Grant Dawson, the woodwork came to the Saints rescue and their goal remained intact.
Normal service was quickly resumed and Chris Bass Sr’s men netted a fifth just shy of the half-hour mark when McNulty beat Sansbury to the ball and unselfishly squared it to Morrissey who nodded the ball into the unguarded net.
Geordies had to wait another 10 minutes before their next goal arrived but, when it did, it was well worth the wait. Caine and Cowin linked up superbly down the right wing to cut past a horde of Town players before Cowin pulled the ball back to Jones on the edge of the box and the attacking midfielder unleashed an unstoppable shot past the motionless Sansbury into the top left corner.
The scoring was not finished there for the first half and it was no surprise when the next goal came via the right boot of McNulty who lashed home after Caine had picked him out inside the area.
There was still time for one more chance which fell to Ringham right on the stroke of half-time but, just when he looked certain to score a collector’s item, the full-back sliced his effort straight at the keeper from point-blank range and the score remained 7-0 at the break.
The champions were forced into a change at half-time when Myers went off injured and was replaced by Lee Bass but the pattern of play remained the same and it was soon 8-0. McNulty released Cowin down the right who delivered an inch-perfect cross over the Town defence into the path of Morrissey who headed the ball back into the far corner to complete his hat-trick.
Then came a spell when St George’s netted no fewer than three times in as many minutes as they raced into double figures.
Firstly, Bass Jr again turned provided as he surged down left and crossed to the back post where Caine met it with a superb first-time volley into the bottom-right corner. The 10th goal arrived less than 60 seconds later when Cowin showed good vision to send over a measured, volleyed cross past a tired-looking Town defence to McNulty who slotted the ball home with relative ease to complete his own hat-trick.
McStay then got in on the act when he received the ball in acres of space in the hosts’ half, teed himself up and unleashed a venomous strike past Sansbury to make it 0-11 with 21 minutes still to play.
And five minutes later they netted yet again when a corner from the left was only half-cleared to the lurking Morrissey just inside the box and the striker took a touch before rifling in a volley through a crowd of players with his supposed weaker right foot.
While his defensive colleague Myers was denied in the first half, there was no stopping Geordies skipper Sean Quaye from helping himself to a couple of goals as the match entered its latter stages. First, another cross caused chaos within the Castletown area and Quaye was the quickest to react, firing the ball home from 10 yards.
Less than two minutes later, after Morrissey had been denied a fifth goal by an excellent save, the resulting corner was met by Quaye who turn the ball home at the back post.
Morrissey again went close minutes later when his long-range effort was saved before Sansbury reacted superbly to prevent Caine from turning home the rebound.
However, there was no denying Caine a hat-trick and it duly arrived in the 88th minute when Morrissey and Bass combined down the left and the latter’s cross was deflected into the path of Caine who made no mistake from close range.
And the scoring was complete in the 91st minute when Bass finally got the goal his performance deserved when he raced onto a throughball after neat play by Jones and McNulty and fired past the onrushing Sansbury to complete a memorable 16-0 win for Geordies and a forgettable day for Castletown.
Castletown: Jake Sansbury, Brett Allcote, Stuart Butterworth (J. Price 77m), Danny McMahon (J. Callow 80m), Tom Charmer, Kevin Caine (c), Lee Davenport, Tom Doherty, Martin Charker, Mark Potts, Evan Johnstone (T. Grant 82m)
St George’s: Grant Dawson, Julian Ringham, Sam Caine, Sean Quaye (c), Johnny Myers (Lee Bass 45m), James McStay, Liam Cowin, Frank Jones, Ciaran McNulty, Callum Morrissey, Chris Bass Jr. Subs not used: Gary Quirk and Lee Dixon
Referee: Alan Cowin
Assistants: Tony McMeiken and Danny Cowin
Booked: Charker (Castletown)
Men of the Match: Chris Bass and Ciaran McNulty (St George’s) - an extremely tough choice given the quality on display throughout the Geordies team. However, Bass and McNulty were the creative hub for the champions and both ran Castletown ragged
Match rating: 4*
l St Georges’ lead at the top of the Canada Life Premier League has been cut down to two points after Laxey came from behind to beat St John’s in a feisty clash at Glen Road on Saturday.
The Mullen e Cloie side had stormed into a two-goal lead at half-time thanks to strikes from Eric Kelly and Stephen Glover. However, Laxey pulled one back through Ashley Webster before Mark Wolfenden levelled from the spot and Josh Thomas sealed all three points for the Miners with a late strike.
But the game was marred by 10 bookings and two sendings off before tensions boiled over at the end of the game when an unsavoury incident occurred and the police were called to Glen Road (more on page one).
Rushen United leapfrogged St John’s up into third place thanks to a thumping 5-1 victory over Union Mills at Garey Mooar.
Skipper Aaron Hawley and Mike Williams led the way with two goals apiece for the Spaniards and they were joined on the scoresheet by Gareth Lloyd. Matthew Cain netted Mills’ consolation.
Elsewhere, DHSOB overcame a resilient Gymns side 2-0 courtesy of goals from Callum Stewart and Lee Gartland, a result which leaves the Tromode side in the relegation zone.