An extra-time winner gave Corinthians the Canada Life Floodlit Cup as they came back from a goal down in a pulsating and, occasionally, feisty final against Peel at the Bowl on Sunday. No-one in the sizeable crowd left early as the two of the best women’s teams in Manx football showed how strong the game is at the top level in the Island.
The Westerners almost broke through early on but Erin Rooney stopped Leah Clegg’s fine run. Corinthians had their first real chance on 10 minutes but Erin Sells low drive was stopped by ‘keeper Kayleigh Greggor. Sells went close again just after quarter-of-an-hour with Corinthians enjoying the majority of the possession. Peel then threatened once more, this time through their captain Rebecca Corkish but her effort was thwarted, as they played long, searching passes into their opponents half, seemingly a little impatient to get the ball forward whereas Corinthians were prepared to play their way toward their opponent’s goal. This often had Peel backing off while the Douglas side would continually look to press, not allowing the Westerners time to control the game. With a minute to go on the clock before half-time Corinthians captain Anna Shaw had a long range effort stopped by Greggor.
Corinthians made changes at the break, bringing on substitutes and pushing Emily Rawlins into a more advanced role but it didn’t immediately give them what they were looking for. The first goal of the game came four minutes into the second half, slightly against the run of play and it began with an intricate move on the left by Peel in their own half and a fine ball forward found Corkish who took it in her stride and put the ball over the top of advancing goalkeeper Sian Smith to give Peel the lead.
It didn’t last long as Corinthians continued to press and a ball from Holly Sumner on the right found Sells on the edge of the six-yard box who placed a cushioned header into the Peel goal to make it 1-1.
Corkish went close again with Corinthians two subs then combining; Jade Burden finding Chloe Teare but her effort went over the bar. Burden then headed a goal-line clearance from an Eleanor Gawne free-kick, struck from the edge of the box. Corinthians continued to have the lion's share of the ball yet Peel still looked dangerous on the break. With full-time beckoning Sells had a chance to seal it but struck it straight at the Peel ‘keeper.
It took extra-time to settle the game and Peel, trying to play their way out of defence, were punished when Holly Sumner’s pressing paid off as she put the ball into the box and there was Casey Halsall to strike the ball into the net to make it 2-1 and give Corinthians the Canada Life Floodlit Cup.