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Douglas Royal's Isle of Man League title ambitions went for a burden last Sunday after Corinthians' striker Jade Burden netted in a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over their neighbours - and witnessed a footballing power shift.
Should Corinthians beat Gymnasium in their remaining league match, they will clinch their first ever Division One crown.
Corinthians made inroads early on, gaps were found in the Royal defence with alarming ease with Burden proving a real handful, driving a shot wide, but it was the current champions who came closest, Vicky Worthington's header hitting the post. With 14 minutes played, Royal struck first, Sarah Breen's dinked through ball exposed the hosts' back line and Donna Shimmin swept her effort home.
Undeterred, Corinthians levelled ten minutes later. Anna Dillon, who was busy throughout, unleashed a perfectly weighted crossfield pass falling to the feet of Burden, who drove her shot into the bottom left corner. Yet Royal should have restored their lead a minute after kick off when Bekki Cole was fouled in the penalty area, but the resulting spot kick taken by Karen Faragher hit the post.
Corinthians went on the offensive again, taking the lead for the first time. Dillon's tireless, weaving run resulted in a corner, Lauren Christian's kick finding Sarah O'Reilly, whose header crossed the line although goalkeeper Kerri Williams did get both hands onto it.
Just before the interval, they extended their lead further when Burden's powerful run beat Kym Hicklin for pace to score.
Royal reverted to 3-4-3 after the break and paid immediate dividends following a spell of pressure. Cole's corner resulted in a bout of footballing pinball in the six yard box, Shimmin having the final say to make it 3-2. Corinthians should have extended their lead further after Dillon was tripped by Andrea Lace and Chris Taggart awarded another penalty, but this time O'Reilly's effort struck the crossbar.
However, Burden completed her hat-trick after receiving Sarah Kerford's diagonal pass, guiding it past the advancing Williams and into the back of the net.
Corinthians should have finished with a higher scoreline, a penalty appeal was turned down following a foul on Dillon, Kerford missed from close range at the far post and Faragher should have been sent off after committing a professional foul on Burden but advantage was played. Royal's best chances were a Hicklin headed effort over the bar and Shimmin denied by a superb one handed save by Ozga to see Corinthians move into pole position.
Corinthians: Rose Ozga, Lynette Corran (sub Paula Beck 82mins), Natalie Johnson, Sarah O'Reilly, Rachel Quirk, Amy Speed, Leanne Prescott, Anna Dillon, Jade Burden, Sarah Kerford, Lauren Christian (sub Jane Bottomley 67mins). Sub not used: Michelle Beck.
Douglas Royal: Kerri Williams, Andrea Lace, Tracey Craige (sub Zoe Hawley 60mins), Leanne Ashe, Sarah Breen, Bekki Cole, Kym Hicklin, Donna Shimmin, Ceri Purvis, Karen Faragher (sub Sam Jordan 88mins), Vicky Worthington (sub Paula Brunswick 82mins).
Laxey stoked up their Division Two title ambitions by defeating Colby 10-0. Leading 5-0 at the break, Sarah Houghton (3), Becky Samson (3), Becky Kirk (2), Shelley Simpson and Jane Irvine were on the target for the Miners.
In the FA Cup, Peel qualified to the next round by defeating DHSOB 1-0, the only goal came in the first half from a Emily Kingett deflected strike.
(Report by Paul Hatton)
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