In a game that mirrored the ever-changing weather, FC Isle of Man hosted Padiham at the Bowl. Two halves that felt worlds apart, with the first one disciplined and patient while the second was bursting with brilliance and brightness.
The action kicked off with Padiham looking composed and determined, earning themselves an early corner. However, the tide swiftly turned as FC Isle of Man piled on the pressure, testing Padiham’s resolve and making them work for it. Padiham’s Kobe McWilliams received a yellow card for a fiery challenge on captain Frank Jones just 8 minutes in.
Jacob Crook found himself with plenty of space down the left, causing Padiham’s defence problems with his pace. A great combination of play from back to front almost gave FC IOM the lead through Pinnington, but his shot missed its mark.
Corner after corner, FC Isle of Man put the pressure on Moss in the Padiham goal, with Michael Williams and Jamie Corlett on the keepers toes. Padiham broke free, but Joel Melia’s shot was no match for FC IOM’s Adam Killey. Amidst all the action, Padiham then found the back of the net, but their celebrations were abruptly halted by the linesman’s flag.
The second half was where the real magic happened. With Paul Jones’s words still ringing in their ears and tensions rising, Frank Jones displayed some brilliant hold-up play, setting Pinnington charging, but Padiham’s defence held strong. Then, in the 56th minute, Joel Melia’s free-kick found Tyler Beck’s head around the back, and the ball soared over the Killey’s head, giving Padiham the lead against the run of play.
But FC Isle of Man weren’t about to back down. A foul on the edge of the box gave them the chance they needed, and Pinnington’s masterful left-footed free kick from 25 yards bent around the wall and hit the inside of the far post, bringing the Ravens back on level terms.
The intensity escalated, with Charlie Higgins coming on for Dean Leece. Higgins took on two defenders but missed the mark. Sam Baines sprayed a magnificent ball to Crook, but his shot was saved. Then, after some nimble footwork inside the box by guess who, Pinnington, Higgins found himself open on the edge of the box. After receiving the ball he drove a shot goalwards, it deflected, wrong footing the Padiham keeper and nestled into the back of the net giving the Ravens the lead!
As the clock ticked on, Padiham fought relentlessly for an equaliser, but FC Isle of Man held firm. Deep into injury time, Padiham’s efforts were in vain. The final whistle blew, and FC Isle of Man emerged victorious, triumphing 2-1.
A remarkable turnaround, with Captain Frank Jones earning the well-deserved Man of the Match award from sponsors Thomas Miller Investment.