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With Castletown losing seven players with the introduction of the Over-16 rule at the start of the season in the Isle of Man league, it wouldn't be surprising if manager Dave Hattersely hired a hot-shot lawyer to find a legal loophole to have this directive overturned.
On this back drop, it would have been hard to build on last season's success but they claimed three valuable points in a seven goal thriller away to Peel.
Castletown started promisingly enough, blue shirts attacking the opposite goal in swathes, Denny's corner found Kim Watson but her effort went straight to the goalkeeper. However the visitors made this early pressure count with the opening goal from Dawson's goal kick, Jessie Mitchell squaring it into the path of Denny, whose effort was left nestled into the net to make it 1-0.
Peel fought back and looked to utilise the pace of Erin Callister, who was back home from her studies, and they came close to drawing level when her effort struck the post but the hosts made no mistake on 34 minutes. Lorraine Beattie and Michelle Flanaghan combined to release Callister, racing clear into an empty half to calmly tuck home the equaliser past Primrose-Smith.
The score only maintained equilibrium for two minutes, the southerners regaining the advantage. Mitchell was again provider for Kim Watson to drive home to make it 2-1 and before the interval, Sharon Whitehouse's ball over the top put Watson again in the clear where, shrugging off the challenge from the Peel defence, she maintained her composure before rounding Dawson and rolling the ball into the empty net.
With Kylie Whitehouse substituted at half time, Castletown couldn't build on their first half momentum and at times looked uneasy. Peel seized on this, pulling a goal back when Emma Faulkner swung her free kick in from the right, a mix-up saw Whitehouse and Primrose-Smith clattered and injuring themselves, leaving an unmarked Callister at the far post to tap home an easy chance.
By now, Hattersley was the busiest person in the second half with Qualtrough, Whitehouse, Primrose-Smith, Gurney and Kelly all needing medical attention during and after the full time whistle. The westerners took full advantage, drawing level from Lisa Kelly's dinked ball over the top which put Callister on her way again, speeding into space where she picked her spot, steering home her effort for Peel's equaliser.
With the visitors holding on, they mustered a chance in injury time which would prove decisive. Breaking down the right, Watson showed good technique and vision, finding Denny in space, she kept her composure before sweeping her effort into the bottom right corner for the winner.
Colby maintained their push for a top mid-table finish by defeating Michael Utd 2-0, both goals coming in the first half. The southerners opened the scoring when Charlotte Beards' cross went into the back of the net. Their second came from Nikki Cooil's cross for Charlotte Cain who applied the important touch.
Douglas Royal beat fourth placed Gymnasium 10-1, who played the match with only seven players, goalkeeper Emily Winterton pulling off a number of class saves. Royal opened their account when Donna Shimmin collected a ball from Siobhan Lockwood to slide home. Shimmin netted from close range and added two more before the interval - the first skipping past two defenders, the latter after Lockwood's shot was saved.
Leanne Ashe opened the scoring of the second half, tapping home after Lockwood's shot was parried by the keeper. Ashe netted her second after meeting Shimmin's cross, Shimmin herself made it 7-0 when capitalising on some defensive confusion. Ashe got her hat-trick when she scored from 15 yards and Shimmin bagged her sixth when the ball broke from a corner and she smashed home from close range. Gymns pulled a goal back when Dawn Quinn raced clear to slot home and Ashe made it double figures, racing clear to score with her left foot.
Corinthians bounced back to winning ways with a 13-0 win over Laxey who started with only ten players. Jade Burden took only two minutes to get on the scoresheet in less than two minutes and she made it 2-0 within a quarter of an hour. Leonie Roberts responded when also knocking in a brace. Sarah Kerford finished well for their fifth with Roberts completing her hat-trick, pouncing after a Voirrey Holmes' shot was parried. Burden also completed her hat-trick before the interval with a trade mark powerful burst into the box before rippling the net. Steph Hall tapped home after the break and she made it 9-0 with a 25-yard strike. Burden's fourth made it double figures and Kerford's sweetly struck effort made it 11-0. Helen Thomas's corner was met by Jade Burden's head for their twelfth with Roberts completing the scoring from the final kick of the match.
Photo - Peel's Renee Micholagiannis skips past Kate Stockman of Castletown
(Report and photo - Paul Hatton)
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