THE Isle of Man women’s football team finished winners of Group B after defeating Greenland 3-1 at Oakfield Stadium on Monday afternoon to qualify for their fourth NatWest Island Games semi-finals.
However, the Manx had their work cut out against their Artic opponents who were well-organised, technically superior and superbly maintained possession. This meant that, at times, the Manx were dragged apart, lacked cohesion in midfield and were one dimensional in attack.
Greenland, deploying a sweeper system, cleaned up the Manx attacks with ease but the Isle of Man had a clear-cut penalty turned down after Amy Speed was felled inside the area.
However, their first meaningful attempt on target after 14 minutes resulted in the opening goal. Eleanor Gawne was put clear along the left and, hitting top gear, she chipped past the Greenland goalkeeper and Jade Burden was on hand to make sure her goal-bound effort went in.
However, the Manx lived dangerously with Greenland mustering some attacks of their own which saw them hit the crossbar and on 28 minutes they got a deserved equaliser. A corner was not dealt with properly by the Manx side and Tobiasine Abelsen’s long-range effort deceived goalkeeper Elisabeth Stanley before nestling into the bottom left corner.
The current bronze medallists had chances to take the restore the lead before the interval, Gawne’s stinging shot was well saved while Gillian Christian and Sarah O’Reilly had efforts that went wide.
The second half was keenly contested with chances falling for both sides and the Isle of Man’s best opportunity came when Gawne fashioned a one-two but her effort was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Oline Martinsen.
With the match finely poised, the much-needed breakthrough came on 82 minutes courtesy of birthday girl and substitute Megan Loughran. Sarah Denny’s free-kick was played to the left, Donna Harrison headed her effort across goal and the Corinthians’ Loughran player was at the near post to lift her effort into the roof of the net and send the Manx into delirium.
Victory was assured three minutes later when O’Reilly’s free-kick was only half-cleared and Denny galloped to the right bye-line before cutting her pass across the six yard box to where Gawne raced in at the far post and tucked the ball into the bottom corner to make it 3-1 and arrange a semi with the winners of Group C at Newport on Thursday.
Isle of Man v Greenland: Elizabeth Stanley, Sarah Denny, Kym Hicklin, Stephanie Hall, Gillian Christian, Anna Dillon (Sarah Breen 59m), Eleanor Gawne, Amy Speed (Megan Loughran 79m), Donna Harrison, Jade Burden