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Ravens punished by Squires Gate comeback

Photo Credit: Dave Kneen

FC Isle of Man squander early lead in second straight defeat

FC Isle of Man have now recorded back-to-back home losses following a 3-1 defeat to Squires Gate at The Bowl in the NWCFL Premier Division this evening (2 December).

The Ravens made the perfect start to lead inside two minutes thanks to a towering Michael Williams header from a corner.

However, Squires Gate struck back in the second half as two penalties were converted by their captain, James Boyd to hand the visitors the lead.

The Blackpool-based side then made sure of the three points through James Hughes' curling free-kick deep into second-half stoppage time.

On a chilly evening under the floodlights, FC Isle of Man were out to avenge a late home defeat seven days previous whilst Squires Gate were on the hunt for valuable points to move away from the lower regions of the table.

The hosts made a blistering start when a corner taking quickly from the left in the second minute was hung up to the far post by Dean Pinnington with Michael Williams rising highest to power a header in at the near post.

The visitors responded in the following minutes with chances of their own.

James Boyd nearly levelled on 23 minutes from a long throw from the left into the Ravens box but from point-blank range he was denied by FC Isle of Man stopper, Ben Wilkinson.

The Manx side then came close at the other end as Jacob Crook on the left flank flashed a half-volley just wide of the left post of Squires Gate 'keeper, Nathan Pennington.

After a close-fought first period, Squires Gate were then handed a big lifeline seven minutes into the second half.

Wilkinson in the FC Isle of Man goal was caught napping on the ball in his penalty area by Nathan Cliffe who took the ball off the Ravens no.1 and Wilkinson, in his haste to win it back, felled Cliffe in the penalty area with referee Jamie Law pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Boyd from twelve yards who struck low to Wilkinson's right with Boyd's strike just evading a big hand from Wilkinson to level the scoreline at 1-1.

With sixteen minutes to go, FC Isle of Man came close to regaining the lead as a pin-point pass from Ste Whitley on the right found Dan Simpson with space in the box, however his shot was charged down by the outrushing Pennington.

Only a few moments later in the 78th minute, a smart pass through the middle of the Ravens defence found Boyd who, as he rounded Wilkinson, was brought down in the box by the goalkeeper, resulting in the visitors earning their second penalty of the night.

Boyd emphatically dispatched from the spot for a second time, sending Wilkinson the wrong way this time to hand Squires Gate the lead for the first time in the game.

The visitors held firm in the closing stages and wrapped up the contest deep in second-half stoppage time with 96 minutes gone.

After Squires Gate were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the FC Isle of Man penalty area, up stepped James Hughes who whipped a low right-footed strike around the wall and into Wilkinson's bottom left corner for 3-1.

FC Isle of Man's next match will be at home against Barnoldswick Town on Saturday, 9 December, kicking-off at 6pm.


Man of the Match: James Boyd (Squires Gate)

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