FC Isle of Man had to come from behind in Cheshire on Tuesday evening to beat Sandbach United and move into fourth place in the league.
Despite the quick turnaround from our game vs Stafford Town on Saturday, Chris Bass was able field a relatively unchanged line-up with only Adam Cooil and Ash Higginbotham coming in for Ryan Burns and Chris Cannell at the back and Michael Williams replacing Furo Davies in the middle.
The game got off to the worst possible start, as within 30 seconds the ball was in the back of the FCIOM net. A quick attack by Sandbach wasn’t dealt with and as a shot squirmed under Dean Kearns the ball took an unfortunate touch from Jack Mcvey and trundled into the net. 1-0 to the home side.
Heavy legs from the weekend may have contributed to the Ravens sluggish start, as the team struggled to find their passes. With this, Sandbach grew in confidence and began to get an early foothold on the game.
Although FCIOM began to ease back into the game with a series of attacks, it was Sandbach who bagged the second goal of the game. A long shot from Jack Hart on 37 minutes took a slight deflection and looped agonisingly over the diving Dean Kearns in goal to make it 2-0.
Within two minutes however FC Isle of Man had a goal back, as Jack McVey redeemed himself following his early own goal to score with a fine header on 39 minutes from a deep Whitley cross. The Ravens we were instantly back in the game with the score 2-1.
There was time before the break for Sandbach to test Kearns with long shots, all of which were dealt with relative comfort. Following a scrappy few minutes, and a few disagreements amongst the players, the referee blew for half-time.
It didn’t take long for both sides to get back up to speed in the second half, each probing with varying success. On 57 minutes, Bass made his first change of the night replacing Ste Whitley with the similarly pacey Dan Simpson.
Then, following an unsuccessful penalty appeal by Sandbach, FC Isle of Man were successfully awarded one of their own after a foul on Michael Williams. After short delay due to an injury to a Sandbach player, up stepped captain Jack McVey to stroke home with his trademark stuttered run-up on 63 minutes. The Ravens were level at 2-2.
On 65 minutes, Chris Bass freshened the legs in midfield once more replacing Lee Gale with Sam Baines.
Moments after a Sandbach corner almost found its way in, FC Isle of Man were finally in front. Quick thinking and an even quicker pass from McVey found Sean Doyle who lobbed the goalkeeper beautifully to make the score 2-3 on 72 minutes.
The Ravens pressure didn’t let up after the goal though, as a lightning attack saw Dan Simpson fire inches over bar. Shortly thereafter, Chris Bass jnr was replaced by Nathan Cardy on 76 minutes.
With “game management” instructions from the side-lines ringing in the players’ ears, FC Isle of Man successfully thwarted all Sandbach’s attacks for the remainder of the game.
There was just time before the final whistle for Nathan Cardy to score our fourth and put the result to bed. On 84 minutes, McVey put a ball over the top onto which Cardy chased, pressuring the goalkeeper into a mistake allowing the forward to slot home into the open goal to make it 2-4.
After a few minutes stoppage time the referee blew his whistle to confirm FC Isle of Man’s comeback victory and with it mark what should be the club’s last mid-week away fixture of the season.