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Week 22 Preview – Sandbach United (H)

The Ravens return to the Bowl tomorrow for the visit of Sandbach United in what will be our last game of 2021.

Since our last home game against Alsager Town, the lads have been on the road again, travelling to Staffordshire last weekend and battling the elements and mud patch of a pitch in a far from easy contest at Rocester. Victory was snatched from the Ravens grasp in injury time following a harsh hand ball call resulted in a penalty for the hosts. A further week on however, and the team will be chomping at the bit to get back to winning ways tomorrow.

Our Opponents this Week

Sandbach United are based in Cheshire and are relative newcomers to the NWCFL, being admitted to the league as recently as 2016. During their time in the league, they have proved to be a competitive club and have pushed for promotion in each of their non-Covid effected seasons, while twice winning the NWCFL First Division Challenge Cup.

United made a storming start to the season, winning seven of their opening ten league games and were front runners in the table standings through to the end of September. However, the last two months have seen a drop, maybe not in overall performance, but certainly in results and they have won just three games since. A run that has recently seen them fall out of the play-off places, albeit only just, and they come into tomorrow’s game at the Bowl just two places behind the Ravens.

Sandbach’s last two results perhaps indicate how tough tomorrow it is going to be, losing narrowly by the odd goal against Wythenshawe Amateurs, before holding league leaders, West Didsbury to a creditable draw last time out.

We had our own warning of how good our visitors are, just last month, in what was pulsating game at the Sandbach Community Football Centre, as we stormed back from two goals down to win 4-2. Manager, Chris Bass will be looking for the same fighting spirit tomorrow

FC Isle of Man Team News

While the injury list has not diminished this week, indeed the unfortunate Alex Harrison was added to it last week at Rocester, Bass snr can welcome back two suspended players for tomorrow’s clash. Alex Maitland will undoubtedly return to side after missing last week, while Lee Gale, out for three games following his red card in the Rocester home fixture, is also back in contention.

Also available for selection are Adam Mealin and Dan Simpson, who have both returned to training this week. Elsewhere, the stalwarts of recent weeks are expected to make the squad.

Special mention to teenagers Nathan Cardy, who started and impressed at Rocester last week, and Charlie Higgins. Charlie came off the bench last week in Staffordshire for just his second appearance in eight weeks after a prolonged period out on that dreaded injury list. Both these lads are going to be big Ravens stars in the coming seasons.