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Still with a 100% record, Corinthians took another step towards what could be a memorable season by defeating their Championship chasing rivals Rushen Utd 3-2.
There was plenty of commitment from both teams but the southerners were outplayed for long spells, with Corinthians have now acquiring seven out of nine points from this fixture in their last three league encounters.
With the advantage of the slope, Corinthians' central midfield pairing of Anna Quayle and Helen Thomas outplayed and outfought the more experienced duo of Gill Christian and Eleanor Gawne as Tracey Cowley's side quickly tore into their opponents. Some excellent saves from an injured Rose Ozga made the scoreline more respectable, denying Quayle following a corner and moments later, collecting Leonie Roberts's chipped effort after she was put in the clear. However with 25 minutes played, Corinthians took a deserved lead. Charging down the right, Roberts squared her pass for Quayle to place her effort into the bottom left hand corner. Donna Harrison flashed an effort past Corinthians' upright minutes later and Jade Burden almost got her name on the scoresheet, her strike hitting the bar.
Rushen did equalise on 28 minutes, captain Gill Christian picking up possession and charging towards goal, side stepping a defender before drilling home for an excellent individual effort. Corinthians had to be alert moments later, Lucy Kinrade clearing Christian's powerful header and Rushen finished the first half with the lead, Eleanor Gawne finding the net with an effort from within the centre circle on 39 minutes.
After the interval, Roberts hit the bar as the Whites still continued to play their measured, slick football and it was no surprise when, midway through the second half, Corinthians got their equaliser. Quayle was afforded too much space in midfield, her angled pass was met by Roberts' run and she smashed her effort into the roof of the net. Gawne drove an angled shot straight at Quirk's raised arms, Rushen's only shot on target in the second half, as it was still backs to the wall for the southerners with Roberts and Burden going close for the Whites. On 82 minutes, Corinthians scored their deserved winner. On more than one occasion, a tired Rushen defence couldn't clear their lines and a spinning clearance fell into the path of Burden who exquisitely chipped over Ozga and the Corinthians striker was buried under a pyramid of white shirts.
Three teams are currently battling it out for the fourth place spot. One such team is Peel who beat Ramsey 5-1. Renee Micholaginiannis opened the scoring the westerner, firing home from close range with Claudia Konig adding number two, again netting from close range. Donna Harrison added Peel's third with an excellent strike after cutting in from the right before half time. Vanessa Roberts added a fourth after the break with Emma Cottier on target again for the northerners following the break, she took it on her own in the opposing half for firing home a fine individual effort. Roberts completed a brace and the scoring moments later.
Gymnasium are also battling it out for the fourth place spot following an empathetic win over Laxey. Leading 3-1 at half time, Dawn Quinn (2), Suzie Maiden (2), Sam Franklyn, Emma Corlett (2), Kim Carney and Diane Moore were all on target for Mark Reid's side, Laxey responding through a solitary Kerry Lockwood strike.
Castletown are also on equal points with Peel and Gymnasium after their 5-0 success over Michael Utd, despite playing the match with ten players. Michael held the southerners to a goalless first half before Sarah Denny got the breakthrough, scoring after nipping ahead of the goalkeeper before converting, with Stacey Kelly driving home their second. Denny notched their third, again rounding the keeper to score and she completed her hat-trick with a 20-yard strike. Stacey Kelly scored Castletown's fifth and complete a brace.
Douglas Royal continue to push for the league title, but came across an improving Colby side. Although Royal did win 7-1, the Glen Road outfit can take a lot of positives from this match against a side that has clocked up double figures on three occasions this campaign. With Royal starting the match with only 10 players, the Colby defence battled and frustrated the opposing attack through the match, blocking many goal-bound shots. Royals opened the scoring after five minutes when Bekki Cole's cross was met by Donna Shimmin to hit home from close range. Leanne Ashe added Royal's second when Kerri Williams' powerful shot was deflected in. Ceri Purvis put her name on the scoresheet after a neat through ball from Kym Hicklin for her to place her shot into the bottom corner. Shimmin got her brace when she flattened goalkeeper Monika Gale to score Royal's fourth and last of the first half.
Ashe scored her second after Shimmin's initial shot was well saved by Colby's goalkeeper and Ashe was quickest to react to poke home. Colby did pull a goal back when Royal's keeper could not collect the ball - Charlotte Beards managed to nick the ball from her hands and score into an empty net. Purvis completed her double moments later after a through ball from midfield was dispatched and she placed her shot into the net. Hicklin grabbed the last goal of the match after Shimmin's header was parried by Colby's keeper and the defender was on hand to blast home from close range.
Photo - Corinthians' Anna Quayle (left) battles with Rushen Utd captain Gill Christian
(Report and photo - Paul Hatton).
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