FC Isle of Man crest

MATCH REPORT: FC Isle of Man 1 – 0 West Didsbury & Chorlton

Adam Killey’s goalkeeping heroics and Callum Sherry’s solitary goal separated FC Isle of Man from West Didsbury and Chorlton in a captivating duel beneath the twilight sky at The Bowl on Saturday evening.

The first half unfolded with both sides exchanging blows but failing to land a decisive strike. The Ravens early intent was evident as Tiernan Garvey’s precise free kick found Dan Hattersley, whose header failed to trouble the goalkeeper, Alex Hughes. Alex Maitland’s defensive prowess kept the opposition at bay for large parts, while Charlie Higgins and Danny Gerrard orchestrated probing attacks down the flanks. Despite their efforts, it was West who created the standout opportunities of the half. Billy Matthews cross found Benjamin Elliott, only for him to head wide. Moments later, Matthews unleashed a venomous strike, only to be denied by the outstretched arm of Killey low to his left. The half finished goalless, which was a testament to the resilience of both defences.

The second half witnessed a surge in intensity as both teams sought that elusive breakthrough. FC Isle of Man upped the ante, with Sean Doyle dropping deeper to get involved in the buildup.

But with 20 minutes to go, it was West who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Matthew Cook’s inch-perfect delivery found the head of Elliott, only for Killey to pull off a remarkable fingertip save to keep the scores level. The Ravens goalkeeper continued to frustrate the West attack, denying Elliott’s powerful low strike with another acrobatic stop, this time at his near post.

But then the breakthrough came in the 79th minute when Higgins delivered a precise cross into the box, narrowly escaping the toe of a sliding Furo Davies but falling kindly to Callum Sherry towards the back post about 10 yards out. He calmly picked his head up to find a gap between two onrushing West defenders and rifled the ball into the far corner to give The Ravens the lead.

As the clock ticked into added time and tension gripped the bowl, Charlie Higgins was sent to the sin-bin by referee James Birch-Ford with 3 minutes of added time still to play. Despite being down to 10 men, The Ravens stood firm and Killey once again came to the rescue with another big save in the 95th minute to deny Kieron Molloy. West Didsbury had thrown everything, including the goalkeeper, forward in a desperate bid to salvage a point. However, it came to nothing, and as Ste Whitley’s audacious effort from inside his own half went wide with the keeper nowhere to be seen, the ref blew for full time!

The final whistle heralded scenes of jubilation among the Ravens faithful as their team clinched a hard-fought victory. The Doyle & Jones Plumbing Solutions Man of the Match honours rightfully went to Killey, whose heroic performance between the sticks proved decisive in his team’s triumph.

It’s Longridge Town up next for FC Isle of Man; that game is at the Bowl next Saturday, the 9th of March, and kicks off at 18:00.