IOM Men’s County Championship
C League – Portsmouth 2017
Isle of Man v Bedfordshire
IOM began against a very strong Bedforshire side and as expected Bedforshire starting stronger and had the best of the early exchanges . Midway through the first half the IOM began to come back into the game and despite being down to 10 players they forced a couple of short corners and Andy Whiting made it 1-0 with a good flick. Right on half time another short corner found new boy Tom Burrows in space to force home from close range . 2-0 Half time
As expected Bedforshire came out strong and midway through the half they capitalised on some slow reactions to make it 2-1. Bedfordshire were now bossing the midfield but a great break , solo run and goal from Alex Bell made it 3-1. Right on full time Bedford found the net with a neat deflection to make final score 3-2
Isle of Man v Navy/RAF
IOM’s second game against Navy / RAF was another tough game. The Navy pressed hard from the start forcing a couple of early saves from Will Margot. IOM were making too many unforced errors allowing Navy to dominate the middle. Despite this IOM still managed pressure and good work from Ste Lowe forced a couple of shorts but the half time came at 0-0
It remained stalemate for the first 10 mins of the second half but a neat break down the right allowed Alex Bell to capitalise on a mistake in the D to make it 1-0. Although the Navy pressed hard for the equaliser they couldn’t get past the defence of Crowe , Verrall , Leeming and Novo-Smith.
Isle of Man v Wiltshire
The third game of the day saw IOM take on Wiltshire. It was scrappy start by both sides with both teams taking time to settle. IOM gradually started to get on top forcing a few shorts . After 10 mins Andy Whiting was first to react in a melee to fire home from short range to make it 1-0. 2 minutes later that man was found in space at the top of the D to turn and fire into the corner to make it 2-0.
2 minutes into the second half Whiting completed his hat trick following up on a short corner to fire home . Despite more pressure from IOM it finished 3-0.
Isle of Man v Army
The first game on was against a very fit looking Army side. IOM were on the front foot from the start with Whiting hitting the post in the first few minutes. A few minutes later Whiting found the net from a penalty corner . Army were not out of it and they too had pressure and only good work from Margot in goals kept the score 1-0. A minute from time IOM forced a few shorts and on the last Whiting made it 2-0 .
Right from the restart IOM were on the pace and nearly immediately a sharp break and cross found Lowe at the far post to roof the deflection to make it 3-0. Despite some good moves and chances down the right from Leeming the score stayed at 3-0 and IOM.
Isle of Man v Channel Islands
The fifth game was against a Channel island team made up of mostly Jersey lads. IOM looked dangerous from the start winning a few early corners. On 14 mins a good break down the right from Leeming saw his shot deflected past the keeper to make it 1-0. Just before half time another slipped short corner found Jamie Brown who slotted in from a few yards , 2-0 half time
Although IOM pressed hard a came close with good work from Burrows it was Channel Islands who scored next on 13mins with a deflected shot past unlucky Dave Whiting. IOM pressed for more but the final score 2-1.
Isle of Man v Cumbria
IOM took on Cumbria in the final game which started very scrappily and despite forcing a few early short corners IOM struggled to find an opening . 3 minutes from half time a good break down the right found Alex Birch in the D and he neatly dispatched to make half time 1-0.
3 minutes into the second half that man Birch was there again to slip the ball under the keeper to make it 2-0. Cumbria pressed hard and pulled one back midway through the half. Andy Whiting did all the hard work but failed to find the net after rounding the keeper but a few minutes later Alex Bell broker away to score another fine solo goal to make it 3-1. Cumbria broke a minute from time to make it 3-2 but couldn’t find the equaliser.
The result saw the IOM finish as C division Champions for the first time and promoted next year to the B division.
Overall a fantastic achievement and great squad and team performance, a lot of hard work over the weekend in the preparations before it. Thanks Viking Office Systems for continued sponsorship of the Island sides and special thanks to Jon Whiting for guiding the team through the last few campaigns.
Pool 5 Royal Navy/RAF at HMS Temeraire, Portsmouth