Laxey Football Club

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Laxey 3 - St Johns 2

Greens in the Valley, 9 April 2019 22:21

 

Steve McQueen ended up tangled in the barbed wire after a motorcycle leap too many, Dickie Attenborough and Gordon Jackson made it onto the steps of the bus before a German Officer wished them "Good Luck"   "Thanks" they replied in English.....

But only James Coburn, rowing into the docks at Rotterdam and LAXEY FOOTBALL CLUB made THE GREAT ESCAPE!

The winning goal was scored by Tom Cowin just as the 45 minutes of the second half had ticked over and that led to SCENES...  Pitch invasion, crying, hugs and still the fear and tension as St Johns pushed and pushed again with corners and free kicks in the  three minutes of injury time.

Once the final whistle blew more pitch invasions, hugs, tears and manly handshakes.  Team manager, John Palmer, like many of the supporters, was ashen faced and shaken.  It had been a very tense day, even more intense evening and the relief was huge.

The game was a must win for both Laxey and St Johns, to ensure survival in the Premier League.   Tom Cowin came in to replace Dave Reynolds who was away, and Tom Callow was back in, replacing Matty Wilkinson.

The evening started badly - the worst possible start, and fairly typical of the Laxey season - within four minutes St Johns had taken the lead with a simply taken goal, and hearts were sinking.  St Johns looked the stronger team at that time with a very solid pairing at the back in defence and a very good goalkeeper as we found out last Saturday in the Hospital Cup.

Andy Burkitt, cool and controlled throughout the game, put in a very good tackle to win the ball in another St Johns attack.   One of the few first half shots on target came from Stan Manning whose shot was blocked by defenders before causing serious damage.

John Palmer in goal, made a great save after a through ball saw St Johns breaking through clear.   David Screech Corlett was booked for pulling back an escaping St Johns forward on the half way line, and then a St Johns forward missed an absolute sitter when clear through.    Andy made another last ditch saving tackle and it did not look good for Laxey who had not yet got their game together. 

A small ray of hope came when, from a good cross by Tommy Callow, Stan stabbed a shot wide.    St Johns kept coming and a good shot hit the bar and it was getting hard to see that they would not extend their lead. 

During a good Laxey attack, Joe Walters attempted an overhead bicycle kick, which missed the target, and then John Palmer made another good save, this time with his feet.

Some Laxey attacks started as they got more into the game - Michael Fernades broke through at the edge of the area and had a shot just wide, and then from a good cross by Tom Callow, Harry Walters headed just wide.

Joe Walters, working incredibly hard, made a great tackle in his own half to win the ball back.   Half time came with Laxey only a goal behind - the first half had not been great, but the star at that stage was George Burrows who worked so hard all over the field to defend and try to set up attacks.

The second half had a devastating start.  Just four minutes in, a St Johns forward out on the right wing was able to weave his way through several tackles and square the ball for a simple poke in to put Laxey two goals down.

Laxey nearly scored after that in a goalmouth scramble and then Michael had a shot diverted for Laxey's first corner. 

Stan was starting to gain momentum and he battled hard to win another corner.   Screech, charging forward, neatly headed down to Stan and his shot was fairly comfortably saved. 

Things were not looking good and the first substitution was made.  Tom Kenny came off to be replaced by Joe Murley, playing as a right wing back.  

But on the other wing, Tom Callow and Joe Walters combined to give the ball to Stan.   Stan went on a run into the box and dribbled past three defenders and shot from 12 yards out and scored a great goal to get Laxey back into the game.   2 - 1 and anything was possible, thanks to a bit of Stan Magic.

Stan then hit another absolute beauty from distance, well over 30 yards out and the St Johns keeper made a great save tipping over the bar with his fingertips.  George also had a shot from distance, hitting wide. 

Then more SCENES as following a Laxey corner, the ball fell to Michael on the edge of the area and he shot in through a sea of legs - and SCORED!   2 - 2 with 25 minutes left    But a point was not enough for survival.

Screech, defending, made a good interception and clearance.  The chances were coming for Laxey as they piled forward.   A free kick from George scuttled through a host of players and just needed a touch; Michael hit a free kick high wide and not too handsome; Joe Walters hit a shot wide; George hit a shot from well out, just wide; - basically it was pot-shot time for a few minutes.

Michael was booked for a tackle, he was pumped up and doing all he could to lead the team to a win. 

Laxey put together a good move and Joe Walters  shot just over.  George had a shot just wide, and then a good cross from Joe Murley just needed a touch to go in.

Harry Walters had a shot just wide, Stan had a shot saved and pushed out for a corner and Stan then had another shot just skimming over the bar. 

It was all one way at that stage and things were getting desperate as the forty five minutes of the second half came to a close. And then the magic, season-saving moment.   A cross came in from Joe Murley, and was cleared by St Johns, back out to our right wing, and George looped a high ball into the area.   A St Johns defender headed it down into the path of Tom Cowin who had put in a great defending performance, particularly in the second half.  

Tom, from about ten yards out, smashed it goalwards and IT WENT IN!    INTO THE ROOF OF THE NET! The winning goal?   3 - 2 to Laxey.

That led to the pitch invasion, a few tears, and a bollicking from the linesman.

We were now in injury time and St Johns, hardly having had a kick for twenty minutes, suddenly sprung into life.  First Joe Walters was booked and the resulting St Johns free kick was pumped into the box, and cleared for a corner.   That corner was defended for another corner, and then again a third corner, all in the last seconds.   The spectators were in turmoil expecting the worst, after all the bad luck the team had endured this season.

But with St Johns still attacking, the final whistle went - that winner from Tom Cowin was enough.   In the end a great evening, a great match - credit to St Johns for keeping it reasonably clean under the pressure of the occasion.

But credit to the team, and all the players who have turned out this season, to get that very valuable 15 points.

Supporting were the regulars, but also many of the younger players, Combination players and other first team squad members.  Thanks to you all for your efforts over the season.  

It is unfair to single out any players on this performance - but of course credit to Tom Cowin for being in the right place at the right time.  His goal will be remembered for decades.

All deserved the Man of the Match award - they really do - but Greens in the Valley is going to name one player for his outstanding performance in battling for every ball and playing some fine football - and just for once the battler is not the usual hero Joe Walters, but the Greens in the Valley Man of the Match today is

George Burrows

 

Stats

                               Laxey       St Johns

Shots on target          6              4

Shots off target         11             3

Corners                      5             4