A dramatic stoppage-time equaliser from Dean Pinnington helped FC Isle of Man take their first point of 2024 in the North West Counties Football League.
There was an onslaught at the Bowl on Saturday evening, however, it did not come from either of the teams, but rather the weather as the opening stages seemed to be affected by the wind and rain.
It was a slow start from both sides in difficult conditions, and it took until the 18th minute of the half for the first shot of the game. Unfortunately from a Ravens point of view though the effort came from Kendal Town and ended up in the back of the net.
The Mintcakes took the lead after they were given a free kick just outside the box on the right flank. Ryan Winder then whipped it perfectly onto James Bailey’s head on the far side, where the forward nodded it back to the top right corner.
Going 1-0 down sparked some life into the Ravens and nearly equalised moments later. After some intricate play on the right, Tiernan Garvey was then found in the box and managed to get his head on the incoming cross, but goalkeeper Christopher Cheetham made a great close range save.
The disappointment of going 1-0 was worsened for FC Isle of Man when Dan Simpson had to limp off injured after a 50/50 collision saw the Manxman come off worse and the half drew to a close. Manager Paul Jones was forced into a change as he brought on Ryan Burns for the forward.
The Ravens soon started to put the pressure on as the second half got underway.
Pinnington fired a low driven cross into Sean Doyle’s path, where the striker then flicked it towards the inside of the near post, but Cheetham again made a brilliant stop to deny Doyle.
Not even a minute later, the forward was in the action again. This time, the ball was worked to Kyle Watson towards the byline on the right-hand side before crossing a first-time ball towards Doyle, but his header was blocked.
The striker would then be frustrated for a third time, towards the end of the half, after he was limited to yet another half-chance. A superb freekick from Pinnington met Doyle in the box, but his header was too far out to trouble Cheetham.
Moments later the game looked to be out of FC Isle of Man’s hands when Michael Williams brought down a Kendal player in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Matthew Dudley stepped up for the Mintcakes but squandered the opportunity as his shot went wide as it looked like he aimed for the trees behind the stand rather than the net.
That miss then fired the home side back up, as they began to search for an equaliser as ten minutes, including added time, remained.
Finally, the moment came. With seconds to go, the Ravens pushed for one last time as they won the ball back in the centre and countered up the pitch. Substitute Charlie Higgins was played through on the left with the defenders sprinting back to stop him.
The forward then cut the ball back and floated in a lovely cross to the man of the moment, Pinnington, who was left alone in the box and headed into the open net to make it one-all. Clearly a massive moment for him and the team as they all ran to celebrate with the home supporters.
This match was kindly sponsored by Steam Packet Holidays, and the result means FC Isle of Man stays in 14th place with 36 points.
The Ravens will be back in action against Irlam FC at home on the 27th of January.