Ramsey Youth Centre and Old Boys won promotion back to the Canada Life Premier League on Saturday, despite losing 1-2 to Colby in their last game of the season.
A run of seven straight league wins had shot Youthie to the top of the JCK Division Two standings, with early pacesetters Michael and Colby faltered in the campaign’s final furlong.
Indeed Marc Christian’s Lezayre Road outfit went into the weekend’s clash against their promotion rivals knowing that only a heavy defeat would deny them a place in the top flight next season. Victory would secure the northerners a first Division Two title since 1992.
An expectant home crowd’s hopes of championship silverware received a further boost just shy of the half-hour mark when Adam Fretwell headed into his own goal to hand the hosts’ the lead.
The Colby talisman, however, redeemed himself in spectacular fashion with two well-taken second-half goals to give the visitors the three points in what was also their last game of the league term.
This leaves Colby and RYCOB level on 55 points at the top of the league, Youthie’s better goal difference giving them the advantage. The former will now have to play a waiting game to see if they will join Saturday’s opponents in the Premier League next season as Michael could still leapfrog both and finish on 57 points if they win their three remaining games against Pulrose, Onchan and Malew.
Colby made a bright start to the encounter and nearly took the lead as early as the first minute only for Sam Renshaw to be denied.
Youthie recovered from their hesitant beginning to proceedings and chances for Chris Robinson and Matty Boyde came and went as both sides produced some neat and entertaining football.
The hosts then edged in front when Glen McGovern’s dangerous corner from the right was nodded past his own keeper by Fretwell.
Nick Leece’s visitors finished the half the stronger of the two and were unlucky not to grab a leveller in the lead up to the half-time break. Renshaw headed Harry Best’s corner from the left narrowly over before Fretwell’s half-volley from the edge of the area was deflected off target.
With their title chances slipping away RYCOB started the second half well and Robinson forced a fine near-post save from visiting keeper Jay Gandy before Mike Nixon headed wide another monster Robinson long throw.
Fretwell then netted his first of the match with a crisp strike from distance to set up a tense final half hour.
Colby pushed for a second goal but struggled to create many clear-cut chances.
Youthie tried to hit their opponents on the break but the visitors hit a decisive second with just 10 minutes left to play when Fretwell headed in a deep free kick from out wide on the right.