FC Isle of Man crest

MATCH REPORT: FC Isle of Man 3 – 2 Lower Breck

In an enthralling end-of-season finale at The Bowl, FC Isle of Man secured 9th place in the NWCFL with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Lower Breck, thanks to Ste Whitley’s double and a goal from Tiernan Garvey.

The game ignited instantly as Whitley unleashed a powerful strike from 25 yards within the opening 30 seconds. FC Isle of Man wasted no time in capitalising on their early momentum, breaking the deadlock after just five minutes with a wonderful move from back to front. Jack McVey initiated the attack, distributing the ball wide to Jacob Crook on the left. Crook then found Charlie Higgins, who burst down the wing and fizzed the ball across the goalmouth. It eluded Furo Davies at the near post but was emphatically met by Whitley at the back post, putting FC Isle of Man in the driving seat.

Lower Breck responded with intent, pushing forward in search of an equaliser. Their efforts were met with resistance from FC Isle of Man’s resolute defence and the outstanding goalkeeping of Adam Killey. His reflexes were put to the test, first getting low to deny Michael Fitzgerald’s powerful close-range header after a corner and then thwarting Tom Douglas by standing tall and making himself big one-on-one.

Despite Lower Breck’s pressure, FC Isle of Man displayed their clinical edge once more in the 24th minute. A quick counter-attack found Furo Davies, who initially controlled the ball with his head, on the move into the box before providing a pinpoint cutback to an unmarked Tiernan Garvey, who sublimely curled the ball into the net from 12 yards out, doubling the lead.

There would be handbags at dusk when, just before the break, Whitley and Lewis Buckley clashed, resulting in bookings for both players. FC Isle of Man took their two-goal lead into halftime.

The second half saw Lower Breck intensify their efforts to mount a comeback. Liam Morris came close with a curling effort from the edge of the box in the 47th minute, only to be denied by Killey’s tremendous save to tip it over.

Undeterred by Lower Breck’s resurgence, Whitley delivered a decisive blow around the hour mark. Breaking through the offside trap, he embarked on a bewildering solo run towards goal. Just as it looked like he was going to square the ball to an unmarked Danny Gerrard, he let go of a potent strike into the roof of the net, putting FC Isle of Man firmly in control and extending the lead to 3-0.

As the match approached its conclusion, Lower Breck rallied to salvage pride. During a goalmouth tussle following a corner, Lewis Buckley managed to pull one back for the visitors, poking the ball over the line from very close range with 10 minutes to play. Charlie Higgins then forced Theo Roberts to produce a world-class save, tipping Higgins’ curling effort, which was set for the far stanchion from 25 yards out, over the bar.

The away side’s hopes of a comeback were dealt a serious blow when Morris received his second yellow card and subsequent red in the 86th minute. Then, in the final minute of normal time, they found a second goal through Kouassi Yao, setting up a nervy five minutes of added time.

Lower Breck continued to press, even sending keeper Robert’s forward to attack a corner. theAs the whistle blew, FC Isle of Man had seen out a thrilling contest 3-2, ensuring their ninth-place finish in the NWCFL Premier Division for Paul Jones’s men.

Ste Whitley’s outstanding performance earned him the Thomas Miller Investments Man of the Match award.

Players and staff then took time to engage with fans during a lap of the pitch as they thanked them for their support.

And with that, the 2023–24 season comes to an end.