FC Isle of Man crest

MATCH REPORT: FC Isle of Man 3 – 2 Longridge Town

In an electrifying clash at The Bowl on Saturday evening, FC Isle of Man orchestrated a sensational second-half comeback from two goals behind and being a man down, to secure a breathtaking 3-2 win over Longridge Town, thanks to Ste Whitley’s 90th minute winner.

From the off, Longridge swiftly stamped their authority on the game with slick passing and dynamic movement, leaving FC Isle of Man on the back foot, although Sean Doyle did head over after 2 minutes. The visitors early dominance paid dividends when, just 16 minutes in, Malick Diakite Tanou’s marauding run down the left wing culminated in a venomous curling effort that tested Ravens goalkeeper Adam Killey, he could only push the ball back into the danger area, where it fell kindly for Scott Harries, who pounced to slot home from close range to give the away side the lead.

Undeterred by the setback, FC Isle of Man endeavoured to regain their footing, seeking to nullify Longridge’s momentum. However, only five minutes later, during a swift counter-attack that left the Ravens reeling, Ridge’s Ryan McLean played a dangerous cross from the left, which deflected off a a stray FC IOM boot and into the net, doubling Longridge’s advantage.

The half fizzled out with no more clear-cut chances, and the away side led at halftime. FC Isle of Man began the second half with renewed determination and a clear desire to turn the tide, mounting wave after wave of attack. But this was quickly halted when Ridge’s Danny Wilkinson went down with a serious knee injury, which saw him stretched off and caused a lengthy delay to proceedings.

Once the game got back underway, The Ravens comeback then began in the 53rd minute after Jacob Crook’s lofted delivery into the box found Sean Doyle lurking dangerously around the 6-yard box. He beat his marker and connected with a powerful header, leaving Longridge keeper Will Kitchen rooted to the spot as the ball nestled into the back of the net.

Buoyed by their newfound momentum, FC Isle of Man continued to press forward, probing for an equaliser. Their persistence paid dividends once more in the 65th minute when a goal kick was intercepted. The ensuing chaos saw Dan Hattersley unleash a thunderous effort that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar before the striker reacted quickest to bury the rebound with his first goal for FC Isle of Man, levelling the scores and setting the stage for a pulsating finale.

However, FC Isle of Man’s resurgence was dealt a huge blow when defender Callum Sherry saw red with 20 minutes still left to play.

Despite being a man down, The Ravens refused to relent. Then, in the dying embers as the clock struck 90 minutes, with the tension palpable and the outcome hanging in the balance, it was substitute Ste Whitley who made himself a hero on the night. He found himself in space on the edge of the penalty area. Showing remarkable composure, the substitute unleashed a curling effort that soared majestically beyond the outstretched arms of Kitchen, nestling into the top corner of the net to send The Bowl into a frenzy of ecstasy.

The final whistle was met with scenes of elation as FC Isle of Man celebrated a remarkable come-from-behind victory, epitomising their resilience and unwavering determination in the face of adversity. Whitley was named the Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management Man of the Match.

FC Isle of Man now turn their attention to an away fixture against Charnock Richard on Wednesday, March 13th, which kicks off at 19:45. We would also like to wish a speedy recovery to Longridge’s Danny Wilkinson, who was taken to the hospital for further checks after sustaining his injury early in the second half.