Result brings Manx side’s recent unbeaten run to an end
FC Isle of Man were left to rue some costly moments as they were beaten 3-1 by Northwich Victoria at The Bowl in the NWCFL Premier Division this evening (5 November).
Luke Murray put the hosts in front in the 12th minute, heading home from a Ciaran McNulty corner from six yards, before Northwich Victoria levelled shortly before half-time through Ashley Dunn’s close-range finish.
The visitors then led 2-1 six minutes into the second half through a pinpoint Harvey Whyte penalty after a handball in the Ravens penalty area by Sean Quaye.
The Cheshire club then sealed all three points and their third goal on 84 minutes with Matthew Birchall coolly finishing off a ruthless counter-attack from a mistake in the FC Isle of Man defence.
Under the floodlights at The Bowl, FC Isle of Man were hoping to build on a run of three games unbeaten in all competitions.
Meanhwile, Northwich Victoria were looking to bounce back from two straight defeats in the previous seven days.
The encounter began at a high intensity, with much of the action fought in the middle of the park with neither James Rice in the FC Isle of Man goal or Christopher Cheetham in the Northwich net facing much pressure.
But the hosts then made an early breakthrough as a Ciaran McNulty corner from the left found Luke Murray who rose highest from six yards to plant a header low under the legs of Cheetham for 1-0.
The visitors, Northwich Victoria, responded well to the early setback as they settled into controlling possession for much of the first half but without too much product in the final third.
That changed though on 43 minutes as a Northwich attack down the left ended with a point blank effort on goal being parried away by Rice at his near post into the path of Northwich Victoria’s Ashley Dunn who steadied himself from around twelve yards and stabbed a low strike into Rice’s bottom left corner to make it 1-1.
The Cheshire outfit could’ve then found themselves in front not long after and just before half-time, but striker Matthew Dudley’s deft chip over Rice after being fed through on goal went agonisingly wide of the post.
All level at the break, and Northwich started the second period with the same authority as they finished the first.
Five minutes into the second half, FC Isle of Man failed to clear their lines in their penalty area and a strike on the Ravens goal struck the arm of defender, Sean Quaye, which saw referee, Jamie Law, point to the penalty spot.
Up stepped Harvey Whyte for Northwich Victoria who dispatched a sublime spot kick low to Rice’s bottom left corner despite the keeper guessing the right way to give the visitors the lead in the game for the first time.
Despite the Ravens best efforts afterwards, Northwich Victoria held resolute to protect their lead with the home side unable to truly test Cheetham in the opposing net as time ticked away.
FC Isle of Man were then made to pay with six minutes remaining when a sloppy pass across the Ravens defence from left to right fell into the path of ‘Vics’ winger, Matthew Birchall.
He then charged into the Ravens penalty area, cutting across onto the right-hand side and back onto his left foot from around ten yards before curling a well-placed effort into Rice’s bottom right corner to make it 3-1 and spark jubilant celebrations from the big turnout of travelling supporters behind the goal.
The result means FC Isle of Man drop to 18th in the NWCFL Premier Division table.
The Ravens next game will be away against Holker Old Boys in the second round of the FA Vase next Saturday (12 November), kicking-off at 3pm.
Man of the Match: Matthew Birchall (Northwich Victoria)