The Ravens were back in front of their loyal fans again with a league game against bottom of the division St Martins.
Going into this fixture, some would say this would be a foregone conclusion however FC IOM were well aware not to be complacent and carry out the job at hand.
Assistant Manager Lee Dixon rotated the starting 11 that lost midweek in the Macron Cup to AFC Liverpool, with only Jack McVey and Adam Mealin retaining a start. Our formidable front three returned to the starting line-up in Dan Simpson, Luke Murray and Captain Sean Doyle.
A sunny evening at ‘The Bernabowl’ made conditions perfect for a matchday, and a fantastic attendance of 1,415 supporting The Ravens, this was bound to be a spectacle for our fans.
FC IOM took an early lead with a through ball after Jack McVey split the defence to send Dan Simpson through who subsequently laid it on a plate for Sean Doyle to make it 1-0 on the 8th minute. The Ravens set the tempo early on, having plenty of time on the ball to play through midfield and utilise the pace of our wingers. It was evident early on that Jack McVey would pull the strings in midfield and dictate the game in order to break down St Martins’ low block.
The first half hour was dominated by FC IOM with St Martins struggling to retain possession, but ultimately their low block was an initial problem for The Ravens to find a way through. However, patience was key for the home side and it was evident the tempo of the play needed to be enhanced to move the ball quicker.
Credit to St Martins, they frustrated the home side but fortunately for FC IOM the visitors posed little threat going forward. In the final ten minutes of the half FC IOM found some joy down the left hand side slipping Dan Simpson through, only to be met by some very impressive saves by St Martins keeper Troy Taylor.
With five minutes left before half time, a free kick for FC IOM on the left hand side was floated in and was met by the head of St Martins defender Ezequiel Incaque who unfortunately put it into the back of his own net to make it 2-0.
Just before the half time whistle, Adam Mealin carried the ball down the right hand side firing a low cross into Sean Doyle to lay off for Luke Murray who then put it on a plate for Dan Simpson to drill it into the bottom right hand corner making it 3-0.
The second half started with a sub for FC IOM with Sean Quaye exiting the pitch and being replaced by striker Furo Davies, which saw a change in formation as The Ravens went to a back three in defence.
It didn’t take long for FC IOM to find the net once more, as in the 52nd minute a corner from Adam Mealin was met by the head of Luke Murray to make it 4-0. Fan favourite Furo Davies was constantly making great runs since being brought into play and was gifted a brilliantly weighted pass by Jack McVey which Furo cooly slotted home into the bottom left hand corner to make it 5-0, the home fans loved that one!
St Martins did then find the back of the net only for it to be ruled offside by the linesman, we think even the home fans would have liked to see them score! The Ravens however flew straight down the other end with Dan Simpson busting a gut to sprint down the the left hand side and drive a low cross to the back post to find captain Sean Doyle who duly made it 6-0.
With 20 minutes remaining FC IOM made another substitution with the ever reliable Ryan Burns being replaced by Adam Cooil. FC IOM had their tails up, Adam Mealin once again with a fantastic pinpoint cross found the head of Sean Doyle to give him his hat trick.
Chris Bass jnr then left the pitch to provide youngster Taylor Andrews the chance to demonstrate his skill and link-play as shown in the midweek fixture. Luke Murray found subsequently himself in the no.8 position and supplied Dan Simpson on the left hand side who laid it off for Furo Davies to find the net once more completing his brace and making it 8-0. The flood gates were well and truly open!
With eight minutes to go, a second yellow was handed to St Martin’s Owen Robinson for a last man foul on Sean Doyle, with nothing coming from the subsequent free kick. And in the final moments of the match another free kick was awarded to FC IOM after Taylor Andrews was brought down, which was taken by Jack McVey who caressed it into the bottom left hand corner to make it nine.
There the match ended, 9-0 to FC IOM with the MOTM chosen by our matchday sponsors Conister Bank and handed to midfielder Jack McVey.
FC IOM’s professionalism was key tonight, enhancing our goal difference and keeping a clean sheet. A tough day out for St Martins but a very valiant performance and we wish them all the best for the rest of the season and beyond.