FC Isle of Man crest

MATCH REPORT: FC Isle of Man 3 – 2 AFC Liverpool

In their penultimate game of the season, FC Isle of Man delivered a spirited and memorable performance to overturn an early two-goal deficit and take all three points, in front of over 1000 fans, with a victory over AFC Liverpool at The Bowl on Saturday night.

The game exploded into life when AFC’s Tom Croughon’s strike from just outside the box, only 30 seconds into the game, curled into the top corner past the outstretched arm of Adam Killey. The away side then doubled their lead on 13 minutes, this time Croughon spotted Killey off his line and used the inside of his foot to loft the ball over the goalkeepers head and into the net from 20 yards out.

Facing an uphill battle, FC IOM quickly clawed their way back into the game when Ste Whitley cut in from the right and superbly bent a left-footed effort into the far top corner from 25 yards out in the 15th minute. Moments later, he came within millimetres of levelling the tie as he rattled the crossbar, again with an effort from a distance.

Both sides then matched each other all over the pitch, for the reminder of the half. AFC had the best chance, but they were denied by Jacob Crook’s sliding block, just in front of the goal line.

The second half saw FC Isle of Man return with renewed vigour. Just 5 minutes in, Sam Baines levelled proceedings when he riffled home a low effort towards the near post, after some good work by Crook. The equaliser raised the volume amongst the 12th man as they looked to drive the team towards a winner from the stands.

A scare for the home side then came in the 63rd minute when AFC Liverpool’s formidable striker, Tom Croughon, could only see his headed effort rebound off this inside of the post.

As the game reached its climax, it was FC Isle of Man who demonstrated the greatest desire and hunger. They were rewarded in the 82nd minute, when Charlie Higgins turned two AFC defenders inside-out, before seeing his initial shot blocked, the ball fell back into his path, and he remained composed enough to slot home at the second attempt and give FC IOM the lead for the first time!

AFC Liverpool’s manager, Phil Stafford, was then shown a red card for his protests when his side weren’t awarded a penalty with 5 minutes to go. As the game drew to a close, substitute Tom Creer saw an attempted lob just evade the far post, while at the other end, sub Jamie Corlett produced a match winning, last ditch block, to deny Croughon from levelling the score with virtually his first touch of the game in the 92nd minute!

The final whistle blew, and 3 points a testament to Paul Jones’ sides resilience, character, and determination as they overcame the odds to secure a memorable 3-2 win. Jack Higgins was named the Manx Petroleum Man of the Match.

FC Isle of Man’s season comes to a conclusion when they face Lower Breck at The Bowl next Saturday evening. Kick-off is at 6.