After a break of over a month, Laxey First Team were back in action. Michael Haslett was back in the team and Tom Moffatt took over in goals from Andy Ball, who was away for the next three weeks - but made a star appearance in the Comby as a forward. Apparently he capped his outfield appearance with a stunning 25 yard (5 yard) screamer (tap in) to help the Comby to their second consecutive win.
The game against Royals started with Laxey very much on top, playing some nice free flowing football. Matty Wilkinson had a shot wide and Sean Gavin had a good shot blocked.
Ten minutes into the game Laxey went 1 - 0 ahead when George Burrows hit a low strong shot from 25 yards out. Laxey continued dominating and Sean found himself one on one with the Royals keeper, but his shot was diverted by the outstretched leg of the keeper. Stan Manning had a cheeky shot which hit the Royals post and on the follow up George shot over the bar. Joe Walters also had a shot saved in that passage of play.
Dave Reynolds, playing in midfield, made a great tackle to deny a Royals attack, and at that stage it was a good open game of football, with Royals looking livelier than their league position indicated.
However Laxey were playing some nice football with good interplay between forwards Sean Gavin and Joe Walters, fed by Stan, Matty and George.
Half an hour gone and Laxey could have been two or three up, but Royals got an equaliser. The ball was turned in from about 8 yards out following a free kick into the box.
The Laxey defence of Jake Garvey, Mikey Haslett, David Screech Corlett and Andrew Burkitt had looked very solid until that point.
Stan Manning was having a good game, but his clever touches and balls were not producing results as yet, but a great ball from him to Joe saw the Royals keeper have to make a great save to stop Joe scoring.
Matty was booked for a late tackle, and then he also battled hard to win a corner. From that, a Dave Reynolds goal bound header was saved on the line and a follow up shot was blocked. Another good run from Stan led to Joe having a shot and once again the post was hit.
1 - 1 at halftime, with Royals still well in the game, when perhaps Laxey could have been out of sight.
The second half started with George having a good strong shot saved, and then after a lot of Laxey pressure and a series of corners, Stan and Joe worked well together to win another corner. Moffy in goal had his first save of the game to make when he made a great save and pushed the ball out for a corner.
Another Laxey attack and pressure led to a goalmouth scramble where Laxey had three shots blocked on the line. After that Joe shot wide after another good ball from Stan, the pair working very well together. Dave Reynolds put a good ball through to Sean and his efforts led to a shot and a series of corners to Laxey as Royals defended well under Laxey pressure.
Joe went on a run and burst through and the Royals keeper did well to make a save.
Stan had the ball up the left and went through a series of about five tackles against various Royals defenders, and although it looked as if he had nearly lost the ball a few times, he persevered, kept the ball, rode the tackles and weaved his way into the box and scored a fine individual goal to give Laxey the lead again at 2 - 1 with 16 minutes of the half gone.
Stan had another shot saved - and then Andy Burkitt, who had a great game at the back, slid through a slide rule pass, the best pass of the game, to Matty Wilkinson on the right, and Matty raced in and powered the ball past the Royals keeper to make it 3 -1 and seemingly make the game safe.
Two minutes later though, Royals scored as the Laxey midfield and defence uncharacteristically parted like the Red Sea and Royals ran through to score without giving Moffy a chance.
Another similar run through by Royals was stopped by a magnificent tackle by Andy Burkitt.
At the other end Mike Haslett had a shot cleared off the line and then later had a shot high wide and handsome. Moffy did well to make his second save of the game as Royals were starting to put on some pressure.
Dave Reynolds had another strong header saved - and then Sean G came off to be replaced by Danny Bailey. Sean had as usual worked his socks off for little reward, but the movement between him and the other forwards and wingers bodes well for the future.
Screech, playing well in tandem with Andy, somehow got booked - possibly for arguing about a strange decision.
Suddenly it was 3 - 3, after a bit of Royals pressure - a low shot went in through a mass of bodies, and again Moffy had little chance. It was squeaky bum time for a few minutes as Royals kept pressing and Laxey needed to get their game back.
Five minutes to go, plus injury time and Laxey had a lot to do to save the game. Fortunately they rose to the occasion.
Joe put a lovely through ball to Stan, and he calmly clipped in to make it 4 - 3 to Laxey, with less than five minutes to go. After that Stan had another shot, just over the bar.
In the dying minutes it was 5 - 3 to Laxey when Joe chased a Stan Manning through ball that he had no right to get. He arrived at the ball the same time as the Royals keeper and a defender, and as they collided, the ball rebounded in a loop and up into the net. Joe takes the credit for the goal, well deserved for all the efforts he made and the bravery he showed - though it is by no means certain he had the last touch.
A good win in the end - and Douglas Royals were not a bad side, and were certainly determined to get something out of the game.
The Laxey defence overall played superbly, with full backs Jake and Mikey showing their skills and supporting their wingers - Stan and Matty - who had a big influence on the game. Screech and Andy hardly put a foot wrong, Andy showing his huge potential for the future.
Dave Reynolds gave his all in the middle - a useful player to have to spur people on and lead by example. George pulled the strings again and it was a pleasure to watch the forward play of Joe and Sean, who both always looked likely to make something happen.
Congratulations to manager Paul Callow for the day and thanks to Rob McCowliffe who has taken on an important role in the training and tactics of the team.
As for Man of the Match - a lot of votes this week to a lot of different players. It is noted that George and Andy made the IOM Newspapers Team of the Week - watched on Saturday by head of the FA Frank Stennett - and the Laxey supporters panel narrowed it down to three other players, Stan, Joe and Mikey.
But overall, for his energy, commitment and fine play, the Greens in the Valley Man of the Match goes to
Laxey Douglas Royals
Shots on Target 14 6
Shots off Target 7 6
Corners 13 3