Lewis Qualtrough's side faced Preston North End Academy, Fleetwood Town Academy and MSB Woolton U17's this past weekend. The trip proved very successful as all of the squad performed very well against strong academy standard opposition.
Preston North End Academy 1-0 Isle of Man U16's. Friday 11th March
Starting Team – GK James Rice (Onchan), LB Adam Long (Union Mills), CB Dominic Parish (Ramsey), CB Lewis Brew (Marown), RB Andrew Burkitt (Laxey), RM – Matthew Wilkinson (Laxey), CM Wael Kassim Mohammed (Ramsey), CM Sidney Batty (Union Mills), LM Cormac Smith (Ramsey), S – George Burrows (Laxey), S- Stan Manning (Laxey).
It was a nervous but disciplined start by the IOM as Preston North End kept possession of the ball really well early on. A few strong challenges from both sides set the tone for the match. The IOM back four marshalled by Dominic Parish, defended very well and limited Preston to only one or two half chances. The Isle of Man’s goalkeeper James Rice pulled off one very good save with his feet early in the game to keep the score at 0-0. After the first 15 minutes, The IOM side settled down on the ball and started to come more into the game. Cormac Smith and Matthew Wilkinson both doing well out wide, isolating the Preston North End full backs and driving the team forwards.
Midway through the first half, A very good period of possession and build up play by the IOM unfortunately wasn’t capitalised on as the IOM fired over the bar from close range. As the half drew to a close, Preston took the lead with a very high quality volleyed goal to give Preston a 1-0 lead at the break.
The IOM started the second half at a higher intensity and their play grew from strength to strength as the half wore on in an attempt to find an equaliser. Sid Batty drove the team forward from midfield as the IOM opted to press from the front and play a higher defensive line, with Dominic Parish and Lewis Brew at the heart of side, stopping nearly every Preston attack. The introduction of Jamie Crook, and Billy Kennaugh added a direct and physical presence to the IOM forward line. The IOM pushed hard for the equaliser and created a couple of clear cut chances, but the Preston Academy side stood firm. A good save at the end of the game from the Preston goalkeeper denied Cormac Smith and the IOM team what would have been a very worthy equaliser after clever build up play on the edge of the box. A very good overall performance from the IOM, but on this occasion the side lacked the quality in the final third to draw or win the game.
IOM Man of the Match – Dominic Parish (Ramsey)
Fleetwood Town Academy 1-4 Isle of Man U16's
Starting Team: James Rice (Onchan), LB Harri Radford (Ramsey), CB – Dominic Parish (Ramsey), CB- Harry Hewson (Marown), RB – Calvin Koske (Ramsey), LM Jamie Crook (Marown), CM George Burrows (Laxey), CM Billy Kennaugh (Union Mills), RM Luke Murray (Union Mills), S- Matthew Wilkinson (Laxey), S- Cian Brock (Laxey)
The IOM started very quickly right from the off and pegged Fleetwood Town Academy back into their own half. The IOM dominated possession from the outset. Cian Brock led the line very well, tirelessly hassling the Fleetwood Town Academy back line. The IOM seemed to create a string of chances early on in the game after strong wing play from both Luke Murray and Calvin Koske on the right. Luke Murray’s trickery continued and he was brought down by the Fleetwood Town’s left back around the 25 minute mark inside the box. Captain Matthew Wilkinson stepped up to coolly convert the penalty low to the keeper’s right to give the IOM a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes before half time, Cian Brock reaped his rewards and finished well after a scramble in the box to put the IOM side 2-0 in front before the break. After an initial fight back from Fleetwood Town for the first 15 minutes of the second half, the IOM started to again dominate possession of the ball. Cian Brock extended the lead to 3-0 with another neat finish on the right hand side of the box. Fleetwood pushed hard to fight back and get into the match and earned a penalty midway through the half. James Rice’s penalty save low to his right hand side, followed by his decision to quickly initiate a fast counter attack up the other end, saw Cormac Smith drive at the Fleetwood defence and cap a great overall team performance for the IOM U16’s, with a delightful lob over the advancing Fleetwood Town goalkeeper. To their credit Fleetwood didn’t give up and hassled hard for the last 10 minutes of the match. They earned a well taken consolation goal late on, but the game was but over and it ended 4-1.
IOM Man of the Match – Cian Brock (Laxey)
MSB Woolton U17's 0-0 Isle of Man U16's
Starting Team: James Rice (Onchan), LB Harri Radford (Ramsey), CB – Harry Hewson (Marown), CB- Lewis Brew (Marown), RB – Andrew Burkitt (Ramsey), LM Adam Long (Union Mills), CM Sid Batty (Union Mills), CM Wael Kassim Mohammed (Ramsey), RM Jamie Crook (Marown), S- Cormac Smith (Ramsey), S- Stan Manning (Laxey)
Both sides started slow as the players appeared to struggle with the uneven playing surface. Whilst MSB Woolton were pegged back into their own half for vast periods of the game, they defended astutely and limited the IOM side to half chances right the way through the first half. The most notable chance fell to Cormac Smith who struck from distance to draw a fine save from the MSB Woolton goalkeeper. The introduction of Luke Murray and Calvin Koske out wide allowed for more chances to be created in the second half of the game as the Isle of Man continued to push for a Winning goal. The best chance fell to Calvin Koske after some direct dribbling at the heart of the MSB Woolton defence, but the Ramsey man was denied the chance to win the game by a goal line clearance from one of the Woolton defenders. Overall, a close fought game which the Isle of Man should have won had it not been for the tireless defending from the opposition.
U16 Lead Coach – Lewis Qualtrough added – ‘The boys did great this weekend. I was really happy with how we have trained this season in the U16 programme, and it showed this weekend against some high quality opposition. Thanks to NFU Mutual for their kind sponsorship both towards the trip and the Isle of Man FA coaching programme. Everyone played their part in an enjoyable weekend, especially the parents and coaches who travelled to support the team’.
For more information about all of the Centre of Excellence Trips this year, watch our video.