After a tough opening fixture away to Congleton Town in our double header weekend, FC IOM were given a great opportunity to put things right as they travelled away to second placed AFC Liverpool.
AFC Liverpool are well known with sharing their stadium with Marine FC who due to their famous FA Cup run coming up against Premier League opposition Tottenham Hotspur, have been able to invest the funds from this run into a new 3G pitch, which was an extremely impressive terrain. Manager Chris Bass went into this fixture with four changes to the squad in comparison to the Congleton Town fixture with youngsters Jack Higgins and Kyle Watson entering the matchday squad alongside Captain Sean Quaye and keeper James Rice.
FC IOM started fast in the first ten minutes as we looked to exploit our pace on the wings, however received an early sucker punch with Tom Douglas finding the back of the net in the 10th minute to put the hosts 1-0 up. Tom Douglas stood out for the opposition in the first 20 minutes but was kept out on many occasions by Keeper Dean Kearns, who was exceptional throughout.
Our good possession and chances in the opening 25 minutes didn’t find us level as we suffered another setback when centre half Luke Stephens header met Sanderson-Rigby’s cross to leave us trailing 2-0.
Approaching the half hour mark, Jack McVey’s chipped cross found full back Jacob Crook who shot narrowly wide of the post. We began to look more comfortable as Ste Whitley’s through ball was put on a plate for Sid Batty, he attempted to take it around Keeper Jack McGovern who subsequently wiped Batty out, resulting in a penalty to The Ravens. The ever reliable Jack McVey slotted home from the penalty spot, to make it 2-1. FC IOM had their tails up, and were unfortunate with a few offside decisions as they went through on goal with Charlie Higgins and Lee Gale being flagged off.
Luke Stephens was an obvious threat from set pieces throughout for AFC Liverpool and took his chance just before the half time whistle to put the hosts 3-1 up at the break.
Admittedly, we started slow in the second half and AFC Liverpool punished this as Sanderson-Rigby slotted his shot away in the 49th minute. Moments later, Captain James Howell should have made it five as he missed a great chance. The hosts then began to show their experience as they frustrated The Ravens and we struggled to break them down. With 80 minutes on the clock, Jamie Corlett entered the pitch for Charlie Higgins, as Jacob Crook was pushed into left midfield.
AFC Liverpool had multiple chances to make it five, however they were met with Dean Kearns who made some great 1-on-1 saves. With three minutes added on, Jacob Crook was unlucky not to find the net, as his mazy run and shot only found the post. The hosts then countered and substitute Adam Brooks took his chance to make it 5-1. Our work rate and commitment couldn’t be faulted on the day, as we persisted into additional time and Lee Gale took found the back of the net to make it 5-2.
It wasn’t our day, as we came up against good opposition off the back of an energy sapping double header weekend.
A special mention to the fantastic number of FC IOM fans that travelled to support the team, they were exceptional throughout and a credit to the Football Club and we thank them for their support.
Up next, we welcome Barnoldswick Town to The Bowl where Chris Bass’ side will look to put things right in front of our home fans.