Credit: Gary Weightman/Vannin Photos
Doyle’s hat-trick helps secure sensational win
FC Isle of Man will enter the NWCFL Div 1 South next week after a thrilling 4-3 win at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton last night (February 26).
Just two points separated the two teams heading into the game with West Didsbury & Chorlton in first and the Ravens second in the table.
The first 45 minutes were a shining example of why both teams held the top two spots in the division – with endless energy, intensity and desire on both sides.
It was the visitors who drew the first blood in the 17th minute when a lobbed free-kick from the right found striker Joel Swift at the far left post to fire a header from close range.
It sparked the first of several wild celebrations from West Didsbury & Chorlton’s approximately 200 traveling support people who provided plenty of passion and voice throughout the evening.
Neither team having lost in quality or concentration, throughout the first half it took a key error in the 39th minute when Ravens man Dan Simpson was knocked down by the keeper of the WDC, Andrew Jones, in the box with the referee pointing towards the penalty spot.
Up stepped up Sean Doyle who calmly stroked the ball into the top left corner, sending Jones the wrong way.
But the opposing team regained the lead at half-time when a cross from the right was not dealt in the FC IOM six-yard box and WDC winger Harry Cain is slid to the back post to tap into the net of two. yards.
Trailing 2-1 at half-time, West Didsbury & Chorlton then extended their lead to 3-1 in 54 minutes.
Ravens defender Sean Quaye scuffed a long ball clearance down the right and the ball came back at him to Dointai Gabidon who coldly chipped it off FC IOM keeper Matthew Quirk into the net to trigger some crazier scenes among traveling fans.
With the league leaders then beginning to control the tempo of the game, it took a costly mistake from WDC to bring the Ravens back into the game 10 minutes later.
A long-range effort from Chris Cannell was knocked down by Jones into the WDC net and the stray ball was thrown by Doyle into the net on his own.
The game was now about to end in a big way and the Ravens got a spectacular equalizer in the 90th minute.
A long throw from Dan Simpson, into the area on the right wing, eluded everyone except substitute Furo Davies who hit a low half-volley into the bottom corner to the delight of the huge turnout. FC IOM fans.
But the madness was not there as FC Isle of Man then produced a Hollywood finish with 94 minutes on the clock.
A nasty St Whitley cross from the right was met six yards from goal by Sean Doyle who rose above his man and smashed a thunderous header into the net to secure his hat-trick sparking wild celebrations around the Bowl.
The final moments of a thrilling game saw the Ravens hold on for the 4-3 win which was met with a deafening roar from the home fans at the full-time whistle.
The win means FC IOM move one point above West Didsbury & Chorlton at the top of the NWCFL Div 1 South but with WDC still having three games in hand.
FC Isle of Man’s next match will be against Cheadle Heath Nomads in the Bowl next Saturday (March 5) at 6.30pm.
Man of the Match: Sean Doyle (Isle of Man FC)