Guernsey FC 1 – 1 FC Isle of Man (Guernsey win 5-4 on pens)
We’re back for round two. FC Isle of Man travelled to Guernsey to contest their first ever away fixture at Footes Lane, The Skipton Cup.
After a highly competitive first game at The Bowl, The Ravens had to see if they could follow up that impressive performance with another strong outing against a strengthened Guernsey FC side. Chris Bass Snr had taken a sixteen-man squad to face the Green Lions on their own patch, and he was keen to see another strong display from his men.
Bass named a strong starting XI with a mixture of youth and experience, especially present in defence with youngster Adam Cooil playing on the right of a back four with the experienced Sean Quaye also in the backline. Frank Jones again took the armband and led the team out in front of an excited crowd.
Guernsey FC showed signs of encouragement early on as FC Isle of Man goalkeeper Dean Kearns was forced into a routine save after only thirty seconds. The Guernsey FC frontline looked a threat as they soon forced another opening and again forced another effort just wide of the post. FC Isle of Man then began to find their feet in the game though as last time’s man of the match Ste Whitley, sent in a few good corner deliveries to test the Guernsey FC defence.
Guernsey FC already looked much better than in the previous fixture and they again looked dangerous but this time from a set piece as the Ravens defence managed to force the Guernsey FC players into rushed efforts. FC Isle of Man drew the first save from the Guernsey FC goalkeeper after good hold up play from McNulty led to Whitley having a low effort saved by the Guernsey FC keeper. FC Isle of Man kept applying good pressure and Whitley, Jones and Dan Simpson all had efforts blocked as Jones and Jack McVey began to get a grip of the midfield and started to impose themselves on their opposite numbers.
The Ravens defence looked assured now that they had eased themselves into the game, with Chris Cannell dealing well with the pace that Guernsey FC offered down their right-hand side. Cannell and Simpson had the left-hand side well marshalled and Simpson’s long throws had started to cause chaos as Calum Morrissey nearly got on the end of one of Simpson’s launched throws. Ciaran McNulty had also begun to grow into the match and began to give the Guernsey FC defence something to think about with his good hold up play and fancy footwork.
As the game approached the half hour mark FC Isle of Man looked the better side and again looked a threat as Morrissey fired just over with a speculative effort. That would prove to be Morrisey’s last piece of action though as he was replaced by Sean Doyle due to injury. Guernsey FC still looked a threat going forward though and after 33 mins they found the opener as Ross Allen managed to loop the ball over Kearns to see the Green Lions go 1-0 up.
FC Isle of Man nearly replied instantly though as Jones fired just wide after a knock down from Simpson. FC Isle of Man again came close soon after as Doyle crashed a header against the post from Simpson’s whipped cross. It had been a great response after going behind arguably against the run of play.
As half time began to approach The Ravens continued to search for an equaliser as McNulty had a penalty appeal turned down and McVey nearly caught out the goalkeeper with a looping cross. Whitley’s left foot continued to see the Guernsey FC defence back off but The Ravens couldn’t quite find the finishing touch required to see them go in level at the break and the last action of the half came saw centre half’s Ryan Burns and Quaye again come forward once more to attack the set piece but Guernsey FC defended well again.
The second half began with a Ravens change as Alex Maitland came on to replace the youthful Cooil. FC Isle of Man started the second half just as they finished it forcing an early corner and signalling their intent to attack. It was Guernsey FC who had the first real chance of the half though as McVey was caught on the ball and goal scorer Allen fluffed his lines to waste a good chance to add a second for the hosts.
Whitley was still looking lively down The Ravens’ right hand side and his cross found Doyle who sent his header wide. The same pair combined well again and eventually Cannell sent a teasing ball in which Jones just glanced over, but the Ravens looked on top at this point and had a firm grip of the game. This pressure eventually told though just before the hour mark as McVey’s great ball in from the right was met by the onrushing Sean Doyle who finished magnificently to level the game and finally give the Ravens something to show for their attacking pressure.
Guernsey FC then came close with a well worked corner routine which saw them fire just over as the game now looked to have come to life. FC Isle of Man continued to work hard, and their pressing was clear for all to see as the Green Lions defence had no time on the ball. The game then became a little end to end as Doyle saw a cross agonisingly close to a finding a teammate and then straight up the other end Kearns was forced into a smart stop down at his near post.
Bass chose to shuffle his pack again as the lively McNulty was replaced by Luke Murray to come on and partner goal scorer Doyle up front. Simpson had still continued to cause problems down the left and his cross eventually was cleared out to captain Jones who blasted just wide of the post. FC Isle of Man kept applying pressure and great footwork from Doyle saw the Ravens presented with a great free kick opportunity from just outside the box. Whitley stepped up and placed his effort just over the crossbar, but the flow of the game was clear for all to see that FC Isle of Man were on top and were showing no signs of easing up.
Glenn Le Tessier came on for the Green Lions and had a good effort deflected just wide of Kearns’ goal, but the FC Isle of Man backline of Maitland, Quaye, Burns and Cannell continued to look assured and confident. Guernsey FC then forced a free kick in good range of their own and Ross Allen called Kearns into action again with a superb save from the Ravens shot-stopper. Whitley then replied with a great effort of his own as he bamboozled the Guernsey FC full back, cut in on his favoured left foot and fired agonisingly over the bar.
As the game entered the final ten minutes Whitley’s fine delivery from a deep free kick nearly saw a sight of goal for the Ravens but the Guernsey FC keeper was alert to come and claim the ball. FC Isle of Man then had a strong shout for a penalty turned down as Doyle was destined to head into the goal only to receive a push in the back from the Guernsey FC defender which the referee seemed to miss. A furious Jones picked up the first booking of the game in disbelief the spot kick wasn’t awarded, and the game looked to be heading for more spot kicks with no extra time being played in this fixture.
As the referee indicated three minutes of stoppage time it seemed the game would be decided by a penalty shoot-out indeed. Murray drew one last save from the Green Lions keeper as the referee ended the ninety-minute battle and confirmed it was to be a penalty shoot-out to decide who would win the Skipton cup.
Kearns would be first to try and save a spot kick and he produced a wonderful save to hand the Ravens an early advantage. Quaye stepped up for FC Isle of Man but unfortunately kicked his standing foot and sent his effort wide.
Guernsey FC then went 1-0 up with a well-executed penalty which left Ryan Burns to equalise which he did in confident fashion as he made things 1-1. Guernsey FC then went 2-1 up but Sean Doyle executed his spot kick brilliantly to level things up at 2-2.
The Green Lions goalkeeper then surprisingly was fourth on their list but he finished in excellent fashion to send them 3-2 up but the last match’s goal scorer Jack McVey sunk his penalty with ease to make it 3-3. Guernsey FC rifled into the top corner to go 4-3 up leaving Dan Simpson to send it to sudden death which he duly did.
Guernsey FC went 5-4 up and Luke Murray then saw his spot kick brilliantly saved by the Green Lions keeper to hand Guernsey FC the victory in a thrilling game at Footes lane. Guernsey FC got their revenge on FC Isle of Man after last month’s 1-0 victory and lifted the inaugural Skipton Cup.