The Ravens welcomed a Squires Gate side to a wintery Bowl for which was a rarity this season in consecutive home matches for the home side. This was the perfect opportunity to get back on track as the team look to push for the play offs.
Manager Paul Jones had some enforced changes into the matchday squad which seen the perfect opportunity for Dean Leece, Danny Gerrard, Eoghain Sherrard and Phil Kelly to showcase themselves as they returned to the matchday squad.
In which was freezing conditions on the Island the home side started on fire as they found the back of the net in the second minute of the match. A free kick was well won by Captain Frank Jones, Dean Pinnington took the free kick and fancied his chances catching the keeper off guard forcing a save. The resulting corner taken by Dan Simpson was floated to the back post finding the powerhouse that is Michael Williams who’s ice cold finish made it 1-0.
It’s fair to say the opening 15 warmed the fans up as the match was very end to end, Squires Gate were very comfortable in possession but the home side looked a threat on the counter attack. Squires gate threated from throw in’s from fullback Adrian Kandeke who tested the Ravens aerial ability.
25th minute saw Jacob Crook take the ball down fantastically in the box and from a tight angle, his shot went narrowly wide. 10 minutes later, Dan Simpson who has been fantastic since his return from injury put a pinpoint cross into Williams again who’s header went straight to the keeper. FC Isle of Man went in 1-0 at half time and will have felt like they had a firm grip on the match.
The home side started the second half similar to the first with a great counterattack, a well weighted ball In from Pinnington found Dan Simpson round the back who narrowly missed the target. However, Squires Gate found an equaliser as keeper Ben Wilkinson conceded a penalty in the 50th minute to allow Captain James Boyd the chance to level it, to which he did, 1-1.
The equaliser made the match slightly stale for both sides as both were wary of each other’s attacking capabilities. Manager Paul Jones brought Ste Whitley into the match on the 65th minute for youngster Tiernan Garvey. This saw a slight change with Dean Pinnington now going in the hole behind Frank Jones with Whitely and Simpson on the wings. With little to nothing happening within the match Dean Leece was brought on for Kyle Watson, this saw Frank Jones drop into midfield with Leece’s pace looking to be utilized to expose Squires Gate.
With 15 left on the clock to play, Whitley played an unbelievable defence splitting pass through to Simpson who’s shot was well saved by Squires Gate keeper Nathan Pennington. Against the run of play, James Hughes made a run in behind centre halfs Maitland and Corlett and Wilkinson mistimed his challenge bringing the striker down. Captain Boyd took the resulting penalty to make 1-2 to the visitors. A final change seen Corlett and Williams make way for Sherrard and Gerrard.
Dean Leece had a great chance late on to level it but found his shot go wide of the right hand post. Captain Frank Jones was sent to the dugout by Referee Jamie Law for a sin-bin offence and with 7 minutes of added time the 10 men of FC IOM looked to find a leveler late on. Into the final moments Alex Maitland made a challenge on the edge of the box which resulted in a freekick for the opposition, a frosty reception was given from the stands to the referee on this decision. James Hughes stepped up to take it and found the bottom right hand corner to kill the match, 1-3.
The Man of the Match was awarded by Ballaboots to Squires Gate Captain James Boyd for his brace on the night, and well deserved. FC Isle of Man will be frustrated at not putting their chances away on the night to kill the match but should be encouraged with the amount of chances created as they set their sights to another home match against Barnoldswick Town next weekend where they will look to get all 3 points.