Three headers were the undoing of FC Isle of Man, as visitors Charnock Richard came from 2-0 down to win in eight-goal thriller at The Bowl in the North West Counties Football League.
The opening exchanges showed that it looked to be a promising encounter in both sides’ first game of 2024, but it took until the 22nd minute for the first real chance of the match, which fell in the way of The Greens.
Forward Nathan Nickeas managed to catch out the FC Isle of Man defence as he broke through the high line. Nickeas then found himself one on one with last weeks man of the match Ben Wilkinson, but the shot was straight at the keeper.
Just before half time and FC Isle of Man nearly took the lead themselves. Jones, in the middle of the park threads Sean Doyle through both of the Charnock centre-backs, but the striker opts to shoot with the outside of his boot and the keeper fends it wide.
The Ravens though, got their opportunity minutes into the second 45′. Daniel Simpson’s long throw found Dean Pinnington, who then flicked on towards Sean Doyle and the striker’s header dropped just inside the far post to give the home side the lead.
FC Isle of Man came fast out the blocks again as they looked to double the lead, and in the 56th minute they took advantage. Simpson was played into the box, where the winger’s tenaciousness then lead to a scramble on the goal line. The ball then came to Doyle, who then played it back to Frank Jones to shoot into the open net.
It all looked set for The Ravens to take control, however The Greens were given the opportunity they longed for. Wilkinson, with the ball at his feet looked to clear his lines, but slipped on his run up, Nickeas then latched onto the mistake and brought his side back into the game.
Not even a minute later and suddenly out of nowhere it was 2-2. Charnock’s Rustam Stephens collected the ball on the left flank, before lofting a cross into Brad Carsley who was left unmarked in the box and headed into the back of the net.
Unbelievably the game somehow flipped on its head as there was even more drama at the Bowl. From 2-0 down, the visitors scored three in five minutes to take the lead. It was another header, but this time it was from Aaron Griffith from a corner as the defender leaped to put his side into the lead.
With almost 10 minutes to go, Charnock Richard thought they had sealed the game as they scored their third headed goal of the match. Lewis Haydock rose alone in the box to make it 4-2
However, with only minutes remaining of the regulation 90′ Captain Jones stepped up to give his side a lifeline. Goalkeeper Connor Eastham failed to control the high ball as it then fell into the path of the midfielder who smashed his effort into the empty net for the second time.
The home crowd cheered when ten minutes of added on time were signaled, as they hoped to be the extra man and help their side level up. Unfortunately though, the script was in the away sides favor.
In the dying moments, substitute Keven Spinelli swiveled just outside the area, where he then unleashed a low curling effort, beyond Wilkinson’s reach to secure all three points for Charnock Richard.