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Ravens conjure stellar comeback to beat AFC Liverpool

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FC Isle of Man recover from two-goal deficit to win

FC Isle of Man produced a stunning comeback recovering from two goals down to beat AFC Liverpool 3-2 in the NWCFL Premier Division this evening (20 April).

AFC Liverpool led after 33 seconds thanks to an exquisite hit from Tom Croughan who struck again to double the visitors' lead with a lobbed finish in the 13th minute.

Ste Whitley's fine curling effort brought the Manx side back into the game two minutes later before Sam Baines' low drive levelled the tie early in the second-half.

Substitute Charlie Higgins then popped up for the hosts in the 82nd minute with a low strike from 18 yards out to complete the comeback for the Island outfit.

Little more than 30 seconds after the first ball was kicked, AFC Liverpool opened the scoring as Croughan worked space on his right foot on the edge of the FC Isle of Man box before bending a shot beyond Ravens' goalkeeper, Adam Killey into the top corner.

As the home side pushed for a response, FC Isle of Man were stunned again on the break in the 13th minute when Croughan latched onto a long ball over the defence, spotting Killey off his line from 25 yards and expertly lobbing the goalkeeper into an empty net.

With a bigger task ahead early on, the hosts struck back almost immediately on 15 minutes.

A neat one-two on the edge of the AFC Liverpool area between Whitley and Baines ended with Whitley setting the ball out on his favoured left foot before sending an effort sailing past a rooted David Parkinson in the AFC Liverpool goalmouth and into the top corner.

Just five minutes after that, Whitley came close again - seeing an effort from an almost identical position bounce back off the crossbar from around 20 yards.

Having shut out the Ravens for the remainder of the first half, the travelling Merseyside team couldn't stop FC Isle of Man drawing level just five minutes into the second period.

A low first-time ball on the left from Jacob Crook found Baines at the near post who - back to goal - swiveled in the box to drive a strike across the ground and into the net at Parkinson's near right-hand post.

In the ascendancy, FC Isle of Man were then nearly caught out at the other end with 64 minutes played.

An AFC Liverpool counter-attack saw Jack Flight send a floated cross from the right to Croughan six yards out with his resulting header beating Killey but hitting the inside of the 'keeper's right post.

Into the last ten minutes, FC Isle of Man took the lead for the first time in the contest with 82 on the clock.

Substitute Higgins evaded two tackles on the right before cutting inside and seeing a shot blocked, only for it to fall straight back to him before he side-footed a second strike low to Parkinson's right into the bottom corner to make it 3-2.

The closing stages then became tougher for the away side as AFC Liverpool Manager Phil Stafford was shown a straight red card by referee Sam Fletcher for kicking a water bottle across the touchline in frustration.

Ultimately, it wouldn't do anything to stop FC Isle of Man at full-time recording victory over AFC Liverpool for the first time in six attempts.

FC Isle of Man's next match will be their final game of the 2023/24 NWCFL Premier Division season.

It will see the Ravens host Lower Breck in a rearranged tie at The Bowl on Saturday, 27 April, kicking-off at 6pm.


Man of the match: Jack Higgins (FC Isle of Man)

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