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Gymnasium's ambitions of playing top flight football in the second phase of the Isle of Man women's league took a setback last Sunday when they lost 2-0 to an improving Peel.
Considering the Tromode club has been busy in the transfer market and finishing fourth from top and the westerners fourth from bottom last season with a gulf of thirteen points, you would have fancied your chances with Gymnasium.
Playing in adverse conditions with a southerly wind blowing across the pitch and most of the footballing action confined to the goal nearest the entrance, Peel weathered a first half footballing storm, surviving an onslaught as the match remained goalless at half-time. The hosts took full advantage of the elements come the second half, firing home strikes from Alcivarne McGregor and Claudia Konig to finish deserved 2-0 winners.
Outstanding was Peel's Vanessa Roberts, one minute she was involved in a midfield tussle with Gymnasium's Kim Carney - whenever the visitors pushed forward, she raced back dropping off a few yards behind the defensive line, sweeping up any lingering danger imposed from the Tromode strikers.
With the wind on the visitors' backs in the first half, they hemmed in the Douglas Road outfit for long spells with Dawn Quinn curling a shot wide. However this did not deter Peel and with Gymnasium committing players forward, they were left exposed by the nimble footwork of Alcivarne McGregor who broke forward on more than one occasion, twice firing wide and another strike straight at Rose Ozga. Konig almost scored following Roberts' corner but her effort was tipped onto the crossbar.
Meanwhile Gymnasium still continued to create chances, Kim Carney and Quinn firing straight at goalkeeper Lisa Kelly and Carney driving wide. Renee Michalogiannis tried an ambitious, long range effort almost catching Kelly off guard but she tipped away the danger.
With only three minutes played after the break, the deadlock was broken by the westerners. A ball was crossed from the right and the danger was cleared as far as McGregor, whose exquisite chip dropped behind a back tracking Ozga before hitting the top left hand corner.
With Roberts helping her back line on more than one occasion, Gymnasium's frustration on the pitch was matched by their manager Mark Reid who was becoming an animated figure from the side-lines as Peel became more difficult to break down. Claudia Konig's shot drew a good stop from Ozga and Roberts saw a long range free kick curl past the opposing framework.
Peel made sure of victory on 83 minutes as Konig, just positioned outside the penalty area, seized on Ozga's goal kick and kept her composure to drilled the ball into the back of the net.
Rushen Utd won their southern derby match against Colby 12-0. Leading 4-0 at half time, Donna Harrison (6), Siobhann Lockwood (4). Eleanor Gawne and Hannah Biggerstaff were on target for the Croit Lowey outfit.
Another surprise result saw high flying Castletown draw 2-2 with Laxey. Town did take the lead when Sarah Denny waltzed her way through the Miners' defence to find the net for the only goal of the first half. Rebecca Kirk equalised after the interval, latching onto a Kerry Lockwood corner with Kim Watson restoring Town's lead. Laxey manager David Callow made a tactical switch as the match came to close, dropping Lockwood into defence and pushing Kirk up front in a three pronged attack. This paid dividends two minutes from time with Kirk drilling home the equaliser.
(Report by Paul Hatton)
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