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Corinthians' Leonie Roberts was the toast of one side of this capital derby, scoring the winner in their Isle of Man Floodlit Cup Group A match with Douglas Royal.
Not only was it a perfect response following their 7-2 mauling in the league three weeks ago and gain local bragging rights over Douglas Royal, but this win could prove a pivotal step and gain psychological advantage as Corinthians look well on course to top Group A and pave the way to their first ever piece of major silverware.
With understandable tension from kick off, both sides took time to settle in this 11th Noble's Park derby encounter, clear cut chances were at a premium. Helen Thomas drove a low shot straight at Williams and Leonie Roberts received a lecture from referee Chris Taggart after she questioned his decision after he blew for offside following a promising Corinthians' move. But Royals were beginning to win the tackles in midfield, spraying passes and water from last night's rain that had soaked into the artificial surface. Donna Shimmin latched onto Siobhan Lockwood's pass, drove a low effort at Rachel Quirk and came close to scoring minutes later when, linking with Ceri Purvis, she fired an effort into the side netting.
Still Brian Cowin's side pressed and worked their move of the match. Purvis crossed from the right, Kym Hicklin chested into the path of Shimmin, struck her shot aimed at the top right, but Quirk pushed away the danger and collected at the second attempt following Hicklin's testing lob after another Royal's move.
After weathering that early storm, Corinthians fought back. With Alison Breen looking busy on the left and Stephanie Hall involved in a number of tussles, this provided a springboard to launch attacks of their own. Helen Thomas curled a testing ball over the Royal back line, Williams nipped in just ahead to collect the danger of the onrushing Anna Quayle. Breen unleashed an angled shot, the Royal's number one pushing away the danger past the post, and she was alert minutes later tipping over Quayle's dipping effort but neither side could find the magic formula in the first half to find the opposing net after an evenly contested and entertaining half.
On resumption, only a few minutes had played and Corinthians finally broke the deadlock. Thomas curled in another testing corner, Royals didn't deal with the immediate danger and Roberts pounced, driving home the winner into the roof of the net from close range as her team mates flung their arms round her neck in celebration.
Royal did respond, Cole providing an outlet on the right and Purvis leading the forward line but it was Corinthians came for more. Being left exposed at the back while searching for their equaliser, Voirrey Holmes charged along the right and rather than to go for goal, squared it to Cassandra Marsham, who took too long to line up her effort before firing a tame shot straight at Williams and the substitute went close again, looping a header that was easily dealt with following another corner. Sarah McAdam - who is currently back on the island and led the forward line following Jade Burden's suspension - and Anna Quayle skewed efforts wide with Royals coming close at the end, Leanne Ashe lifting an effort over the bar following Cole's cross.
But it was Tracey Cowley's side that came closest to scoring before the final whistle, Quayle worked an intelligent one-two before her charging run into the penalty area was thwarted by Williams, and Holmes hitting the side netting with an effort from the right.
Ten player Castletown meanwhile secured their first Floodlit Cup win of the season by defeating Laxey 5-1, with Sarah Denny being their star of the show by netting all five of the southerners' goals. Denny opened her account from the penalty spot with Kate Stockman coming close for Castletown's second, firing an effort against the bar. Denny made it 2-0 after Laxey couldn't clear their defensive lines but they struck back before half time, Jane Irvine firing home from just inside the penalty area. Denny completed her hat-trick after the interval and struck the fourth with a long range strike, but the fifth was the goal of the match. Latching onto Lisa Quayle's goal kick, Denny struck it first time from 18 yards and the ball flew into the back of the net for her fifteenth goal of the season.
(Report - Paul Hatton)
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