It was (almost) the “perfect ten” for FC Isle of Man last night, notching a 10-2 away win against St Martins, which moved the Ravens up to fifth in the table.
On an exceptionally cold night in Oswestry, Manager Chris Bass was able to field a strong attacking line-up despite there only being three days since our emotionally intense first home game at The Bowl.
The game begun in familiar fashion with both sides taking time to work each other out and hone the final passes, but by ten minutes in the Ravens had begun to pile the pressure on the home side. Then after 19 minutes the first goal of the evening came as the ball was tucked in from close range by Furo Davies after lovely, floated cross from Chris Bass jnr. 1-0 FCIOM.
This seemed to galvanise St Martins somewhat though, as there then followed a period of back-and-forth possession, but this was short lived as on 32 minutes the ball was in the back of the home side’s net again. After a corner was swung in by Ste Whitley, the ref blew for a penalty for FC Isle of Man, which was calmly dispatched by captain Jack McVey. 2-0 to the Ravens.
With FC Isle of Man in ascendancy and as the game edged towards the break, there was just time for St Martins earn a penalty from a corner. Up stepped Emanuel Mateus Ferandes to put the ball past Matty Quirk to make the score 1-2 and with that the referee blew his whistle for half time.
While the Ravens started the first half as frostily as the weather that evening, they started the second like a bonfire night rocket.
Within one minute of the restart, Bass Jnr made it 1-3, scoring after a cross rebounded off the bar then just five minutes later striker Sean Doyle got in on the goal scoring, tapping the ball home after a Lee Gale shot was parried by the goalkeeper. 1-4 to the Ravens.
Despite a scare on 53 minutes, as a mix-up in defence lead to a St Martins shot on goal which was well saved by Quirk, the FC Isle of Man pressure did not let up. Wave after wave of attack led to a series of corners and it was from a corner on 60 minutes that the fifth Ravens goal arrived via the head of in-form Furo Davies. 1-5 Ravens.
It wasn’t long before the sixth Ravens goal of the night arrived either. This time, the goal-scoring Davies turned provider, feeding Lee Gale, who had looked dangerous all evening, to slot home neatly on 64 minutes making it 1-6.
If it wasn’t before, the game was almost certainly won at this point, so Chris Bass snr took the opportunity to give a couple of younger players some game time. On 68 minutes Sean Doyle was replaced by eighteen-year-old Nathan Cardy and on 70 minutes the seventeen-year-old Scott Horne came on for Chris Bass jnr.
Forward Luke Murray must have been feeling left out by this stage, as he seemed determined to get amongst the goals too. And his moment came on 71 minutes, capping off a great run with a lovely finish to make the score 1-7.
The newly introduced Cardy wasn’t wasting any time, as he was the next name on the scoresheet, latching onto a free kick and tidily slotting the ball home on 74 minutes for his first goal for the club.
At this stage of the game, you could almost forgive the Ravens players for letting their concentration drop momentarily (although Manager Bass probably won’t!) and it was during this period that St Martins got a goal back. A free-kick on 76 minutes was saved by Quirk but not cleared properly, which allowed Robert Weir to convert the rebound and make the score 2-8.
Five minutes later, soon-to-be crowned Man of the Match, Furo Davies completed his hat-trick. Fast, incisive passing from Murray, Horne and Gale worked the ball to Adam Mealin who crossed for Davies to bag his third and the Raven’s ninth goal of the game.
Then on 86 minutes, there was the fantastic sight of long-term injury Alex Harrison return to the field to replace Ste Whitley.
As the game entered its last few minutes Nathan Cardy had a goal ruled out for offside before ultimately bagging his second on 87 minutes, finishing unerringly from a Gale pass to make it 2-10 to the Ravens.
Shortly thereafter, the referee blew the final whistle on a quite incredible feast of goal-scoring for the Ravens, which saw seven different goal scorers including a hat-trick from Furo Davies.
As there were no other games that evening, the result moves FC Isle of Man up to fifth and into the play-off places on 32 points, with a game in hand over Wythenshawe Amateurs currently in fourth position.
What a start to November and we all hope the ruthless goal scoring continues during our next fixture – a home tie against Stafford Town on 6th November.