The debuts continue to come thick and fast in Isle of Man Newspapers’ Team of the Week despite the business end of the season fast approaching.
Following a plethora of fine performances from players in the Canada Life Premier League at the weekend, picking the 20th hypothetical XI of the 2022-23 campaign was far from an easy task.
Many of the players featured may be coming towards the end of their careers but that appears no barrier to providing highly-impressive displays.
Donning the goalkeeper gloves this week is DHSOB number one Gareth Williams who produced a series of fine saves to keep his side in contention against St George’s, with his opposite number in the Saints goal David Cherry also looking on top form.
Also impressing in that game at Glencrutchery Road was the latter’s team-mate Joel Ibanez who has been solid at the back since his return to the Saints earlier this season and was in fine fettle against Old Boys.
Joining him in a four-man defence are Douglas Royal’s Dan Smith, Will Penhallurick of St John’s and Peel’s Scott Horne.
The latter produced an eye-catching display at left-back as the westerners nudged past Marown to continue their charge towards the title, while Penhallurick has been a reliable defender at the heart of the Johnners’ back four this campaign and impressed against title hopefuls Corinthians on Friday night.
Likewise, Smith has provided some highly impressive appearance at the back for Royal as the Whites have moved clear of the dreaded drop zone, notably against Ramsey last weekend to earn his first TotW call-up of the season.
Just missing out was Ayre United’s Mr Consistent, Jamie Callister, but two of his Tangerines team-mates make the cut in the Team of the Week midfield, namely Harry Best and Nick Hurt.
The latter has enjoyed a superb season for the defending champions and was man of the match once again at Ballaoates, while Best helped himself to two stunning goals at the weekend to sink Union Mills.
Joining the northern duo are Peel’s Freddie O’Donaghue and St George’s talisman Chris Bass Jr.
The former enjoyed a superb game in midfield as he signed off with his final appearance for the westerners against Marown, while Bass Jr led by example for Geordies with an inspirational performance to all but secure his side’s top flight status for next season.
Narrowly missing out on the latest TotW was Douglas Royal’s Andy Asbridge after he also impressed against Ramsey.
Leading the line in the latest Team of the Week are St John’s United’s Callum Taggart and Rushen United’s Christos Loizides (pictured).
Taggart delivered another highly impressive performance as he caused real problems for the Corinthians defence, grabbing a goal to all but end the Whites’ hopes of catching Peel in the title race.
Loizides appears to get better with every game and his four goals made him star of the show at Croit Lowey as the Spaniards put Onchan to the sword. His team-mate Eddie Kangah, who also impressed, was unfortunate not to feature in TotW.
Another to shine in the latter game in Costa del Port Erin was Andy Lodge who duly picks up the referee of the week honours.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Gareth Williams (DHSOB) TotW apps: 1
Dan Smith (D. Royal) TotW apps: 1
Joel Ibanez (St George’s) TotW apps: 2
Will Penhallurick (St John’s) TotW apps: 4
Scott Horne (Peel) TotW apps: 2
Freddie O’Donoghue (Peel) TotW apps: 1
Nick Hurt (Ayre) TotW apps: 5
Harry Best (Ayre) TotW apps: 3
Chris Bass Jr (St George’s) TotW apps: 3
Callum Taggart (St John’s) TotW apps: 4
Christos Loizides (Rushen) TotW apps: 3
Andy Lodge (Rushen v Onchan)