It is said that good things come to those who wait and for Peel that proved the case on Saturday as they beat St George’s 1-0 at Glencrutchery Road.
The Canada Life Premier League leaders knew that, with Corinthians losing the previous weekend, they had a chance to further extend their lead at the top as they look to secure a first title in more than 20 years.
Despite form suggesting Peel should be the favourites, it was Geordies who looked the most likely to score early on with Morgan Naylor smartly rounding Owen Dawson in the Peel goal, but his touch took him wide and he was unable to find the target from a tight angle.
With Peel’s first attack they were only kept out by a brilliant double save from stand-in keeper Johnny Myers who made a point-blank stop from Taylor Andrews before getting up to bat away the rebound.
The westerners should have taken the lead shortly after through Lewis Moran when Andrews skipped past Julian Ringham, only for Moran to clear not only the crossbar but the Geordies clubhouse when he looked certain to score.
As the first half ticked away, Peel probably should have had a penalty when Tom Brown was through on goal and brought down by the challenge of a recovering Ash Higginbotham.
But referee Peter Greenhill was unmoved by the Peel appeals and sin-binned Moran for his protesting remarks.
The second half was like the Alamo with Sean Quaye in the guise of Davy Crockett, leading the defence in repelling wave after wave of Peel attack, with Geordies rarely venturing out of their own half.
Despite the constant pressure, with Brown in particular causing no end of trouble, Peel just couldn’t find a way through and even when they did get in behind they were either wasteful or thwarted by Myers in the Geordies goal.
The biggest chance came through Paul Whitehead as he beat two players only to see his shot thunder off the underside of the bar.
In the resulting rebound it wasn’t clear who had sent it back goalwards, but while the ball looked to have crossed the line before Myers got a big paw to it, Greenhill was again unmoved and the game remained 0-0.
It was only in the dying minutes when Peel finally got their breakthrough as Quaye tussled with Whitehead from a corner, the Peel man was sent tumbling to the ground and Greenhill wasted no time in giving what seemed a clear penalty.
Despite Myers guessing the right way against his former club, he couldn’t keep out Whitehead’s spot-kick and Peel took the three points that anyone watching would have to bleed black and yellow to argue they hadn’t deserved.
With FA Cup action next weekend the title race is on pause, but with Peel now 11 points clear of Union Mills in second and 15 clear of Corinthians, even with the Ballafletcher side’s four games in hand it is Peel’s title to lose.