Visitors hit back in second half after Sean Doyle hat-trick
A first half Sean Doyle hat-trick wasn't enough for FC Isle of Man as they suffered a 5-3 home defeat to Longridge Town in the NWCFL Premier Division this evening (18 March).
After an early own goal from Ravens defender, Ryan Burns to put the visitors in front, Doyle then hit three without reply in the first 45 before Dean Ing struck back for Longridge before half-time in an absorbing first-half.
A superb second-half showing from Longridge Town saw Ing grab two more to secure his hat-trick and give the Lancashire side the lead before Ben Finlay's cool finish made the three points secure for the visitors.
Despite the loss, the Manx side maintain a ten-point gap from the relegation zone due to Burscough's loss earlier in the day.
Saturday night's clash at The Bowl saw two sides in rejuvenated runs of form - FC Isle of Man had suffered defeat just once in their last five whilst Longridge Town were targeting a third win in the space of seven days.
The home side suffered their first setback just three minutes in when a cross from the right from Longridge's Mitchell Marshal into the FC Isle of Man six-yard box was met with a sliding clearance from Burns, whose connection deflected into the near bottom corner to give the visitors the lead.
But this seemed to spur the Ravens into life as they began to press the Longridge Town defence and the hosts were level five minutes later when a Ste Whitley cross on the right-edge of the box found an unmarked Doyle at the near post who guided a header under Longridge 'keeper, James Aspinall, and into the near corner.
As FC Isle of Man kept up their relentless pressure they then took the lead for the first time in the 14th minute - Charlie Higgins on the right found Doyle with a low pass six yards out who, with a defender on his back, swivelled on the spot and fire an effort over Aspinall into the roof of the net.
As Longridge continued to falter, Doyle then capitalised again for 3-1 when a flowing FC Isle of Man move from right to left saw Higgins feed onrushing full-back Jacob Crook, who squared a pass from the byeline to Doyle in the six-yard area who poked a low effort into the back of the net for his hat-trick.
But the away side found a route back into the game on the half-hour mark to shake things up - a smart infield pass from the left flank came to the feet of the excellent Dean Ing 20 yards out, who got space on his right foot and rifled a low effort past Ravens stopper, Dean Kearns, and into the bottom right corner for 3-2.
After an entertaining five-goal feast come half-time, Longridge Town emerged the brighter of the two sides in the second period with some slick passing and pressure to push FC Isle of Man into their own half.
The visitors then got their reward for their better start on 63 minutes as Jack Anderton, cutting in from the right, fizzed a precise ball through the Manx outfit's defence to Ing who controlled expertly on the edge of the box before firing an accurate half-volley past Kearns into the top corner to level the game at 3-3.
With FC Isle of Man seemingly increasingly nervous, their opponents sensed an opportunity and took the lead for the second time in the game four minutes later.
Longridge Town substitute Cian McDermott was offered space on his right foot on the left edge of the Ravens box and whilst his low effort was parried away by Kearns, Ing was alert to slam home the loose ball from point-blank range to bag a hat-trick of his own and give his side a 4-3 advantage.
Now on the back foot, FC Isle of Man made a raft of substitutions and began to pile bodies forward in search of an equaliser, but they were punished for their commitment with just four minutes of normal time remaining.
From an FC Isle of Man set-piece, Longridge Town broke with Ing shielded the ball on the halfway line before releasing a well-weighted through ball for substitute winger, Ben Finley, who sprinted through the FC Isle of Man half one-on-one against Kearns and, with just the keeper to beat, passed it coolly into the bottom corner to bad Longridge's fifth and all three points to take back to the UK.
The defeat means FC Isle of Man remain 20th in the NWCFL Premier Division, but maintaining a ten-point gap away from the relegation zone.
The Ravens next outing will be at home against West Didsbury & Chorlton on Saturday, 25 March, kicking-off at 6pm.
Man of the Match: Dean Ing (Longridge Town)