Under the lights of Barnton FC’s Townfield stadium, FC Isle of Man picked up another three points to extend their unbeaten run in the League to six games.
There were several changes to the team from the weekend’s win over Eccleshall with Cameron Avery, Lee Gale, Michael Williams and Charlie Higgins all making the starting line-up for this midweek clash.
The game itself started much like the previous few games, as the Ravens immediately piling the pressure on the home side with intensive closing down and quick shots on target.
It only took 10 minutes for this pressure to pay dividends and for FC Isle of Man to go one-nil up. A deep cross from Charlie Higgins was met by Furo Davies who dropped it into the path of Ste Whitley but the onrushing Barnton defender got their first and inadvertently directed the ball into the back of his own net.
In the ensuing period, the lively Charlie Higgins continued to cause havoc down the Barnton left with mazy runs and direct passing feeding the equally impressive Furo Davies and Whitley in the forward lines.
Indeed, it was a Higgins’ attack that lead to the corner from which the Ravens second goal came. As the ball was swung in from Whitley it was met confidently by Furo Davies who directed his header powerfully into the goal of the underside of the bar. Two-nil after 27 minutes.
Seemingly learning from previous games, the FCIOM players were clearly instructed not to let Barnton back into the game as the pressure did not let up.
There was just time for Furo Davies to strike the bar again, this time with a speculative 30 yard shot before Sean Doyle bagged the Raven’s third goal on 34 minutes. A lovely cross from Whitley with the outside of his boot was taken at speed on the fly by Lee Gale who slid the ball across to Doyle to tap home past the goalkeeper.
The Ravens front line continued to probe amid some increasingly frustrated tackles from Barnton before the referee blew his whistle for half time.
Bass decided to make a change at the break, as Dan Simpson replaced Charlie Higgins.
Despite a glimmer of possession from the home side, it didn’t take long for FC Isle of Man to score again. A cross into the box from Ash Higginbotham was met by Sean Doyle who tucked the ball away nicely from inside the box on 49 minutes for his second and the Ravens fourth of the night.
Before the crowd finished murmuring from this goal, on 52 minutes the ball was in the back of the home side’s net once again. This time Doyle turned provider, who held the ball up well from a throw for Lee Gale who placed it exquisitely into the top-right corner leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. Five-nil to FC Isle of Man.
As the Ravens continued to press, the Barnton goalkeeper was forced to abandon the early strategy of playing out from the back, reverting to kicking long, which ushered in a scruffy period of the game but saw Barnton make rare advances forward.
On 69 minutes, as tired legs became evident, Bass made a double substitution with Adam Cooil replacing Lee Gale and Nathan Cardy coming on for Cameron Avery.
These changes came with a markedly different shape, which seemed to disrupt the Raven’s momentum and Barnton began to grow into the game slightly, stringing a few passes together in the final third.
However, it was FC Isle of Man who scored the next goal, slightly against the run of play. A long throw from Dan Simpson was controlled by Doyle who laid the ball into Furo Davies’ path to lash into the roof of the net on 84 minutes. Two goals for Furo and six for the Ravens without reply.
That reply did, unfortunately, follow only minutes later as a through-ball made it past the Raven’s backline for the first time and Barnton’s Jordan Monthe beat the out-rushing Matt Quirk to the ball, chipping it over the goalkeeper’s head into the net.
The final whistle came just moments later, confirming a 1-6 victory and another hardworking, convincing performance by the Ravens. The result sees FC Isle of Man rise to sixth in the NWCFL Division 1 South table, one point behind the play-off places and with one game in hand over those clubs above.
Next up is another away day at Abbey Hulton United on Saturday 16 October.