FC Isle of Man crest

MATCH REPORT: FC Isle of Man 1 – 0 Pilkington FC

Under the lights and in cold conditions, at the Bowl, FC Isle of Man asserted their dominance, clinching a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Pilkington in front of an excited home crowd in the North West Counties Premier Division.

Pilkington kicked off proceedings, but FC Isle of Man’s relentless forward press quickly set the tone. The first opportunity came as early as the 4th minute when Jacob Crook drove towards goal, but the Pilks defence stood firm. Ravens goalkeeper Ben Wilkinson, then showcased his shot-stopping abilities with a spectacular save on the 13th minute to keep the game level. Crook and Dean Pinnington continued to be thorns in the side of the of The Pilks, but were unable to to provide that final ball through their defensive line.

The game defining moment arrived in the 26th minute when Pinnington orchestrated a moment of brilliance, delivering a pinpoint free kick to Captain Frank Jones. The skipper’s powerful header at the back post propelled FC Isle of Man to a 1-0 lead and was met by rapturous celebrations from the ravens fans. Pilkington then looked to respond quickly but Taylor Prescott’s audacious volley sailed narrowly over the bar and the half then fizzled out as both teams began to cancel each other out.

As the second half began, the Ravens continued with their dogged determination. The returning Dan Simpson provided pace down the wings, but his crosses failed to trouble Jake Hilton in The Pilks goal, who dealt with them comfortably. Ste Whitley then cut in from the right and sent a chance from range, over the bar. 

Tactical substitutions injected fresh energy to a squad who had played only 48 hours earlier, with Simpson making way for Michael Williams in the 62nd minute and Danny Gerrard & Eoighan Sherrard for Kyle Watson and Frank Jones in the 68th minute. During this flurry of changes, Pilkington also came close to equalising as Prescott hit the post. Alex Maitlaind and Callum Sherry had been two staunch defensive pillars at the back all night for The Ravens. 

In the latter stages of the game, further changes saw Charlie Higgins replacing Ste Whitley, and Furo Davies stepping in for Sean Doyle. The Ravens held firm in the face of Pilkington’s offensive waves, as Gerrard’s outstanding tackle late on once again denied The Pilks of a way through on goal. As six minutes of added time were announced, FC Isle of Man maintained their composure, and cleverly kept hold of the ball in the corner with Davies. This ultimately secured all three points with a 1-0 win. The Man of the Match award was chosen by the Parkinson’s Disease Society Isle of Man, and awarded to Callum Sherry.