2025/26 Season | Summary

Pitching In Northern League Divison 1 North West

PWDLFAPTS
1.Runcorn Linnets362187692371
2.Dunston3618135684267
3.FC ISLE OF MAN3617910807060

Despite a strong start to the season, the warning signs were there for all to see in November. 11 goals were shipped in defeat to Billingham Synthonia (1-3), a 2-2 draw with Colne Dynamos, a 3-1 defeat at Avro and 3-3 draw with Dunston.

The festive fixture at West Auckland Town on 27th December 2025 was probably the lowest point in the club’s short history. A 7-2 defeat highlighted all that was wrong with , everything that could go wrong that day did go wrong. The Ravens did not look at all like a side that belonged in this division let alone be in with a shout of promotion. Supporters began questioning Bass’s 4-4-2 tactics.

The wheels finally came off in March after a 3-2 defeat to league leaders Runcorn Linnets which completely took the wind out of the sails of any automatic promotion hopes. Confidence was totally shot and the Ravens failed to win any of the next 8 games, stumbling across the finish lane in 3rd place a total of 11 points behind the champions in the end.

For the first time in their history, the last game of the regular season had no bearings on the title race.

To be honest, not many fancied the chances of FC Isle of Man as they went into the Regional Division 1 Playoffs for the 3rd successive season. FC Isle of Man had been playing fairly well in the previous 2 seasons when they faced the playoffs yet still managed to miss out. It was a surprise to see the Ravens pull a 2-1 win over Leatherhead in the semi-final, their first win in 8 games. It wasn’t straight forward and they needed the luck of an own goal to see them through, but like a striker in a goal drought who scores one off his backside, sometimes that’s what it takes to return to form.

And return to form they did, in some style too! Just under 2,000 fans made the journey to Shrewsbury Town’s Montgomery Waters Stadium to witness the Ravens best performance of what had been a relatively poor season. 2 early quickfire goals from Brian Esperance, who else, set the tone for the afternoon, going on to record a famous 5-2 win.

That playoff performance, as good as it was, masked the deficiencies Chris Bass needs to address next season at a higher level. The defence let-in 70 goals this season, by far their worst performance yet.

JEDD TOWNSEND SCORING FROM A TIGHT ANGLE IN THE PLAYOFF FINAL AGAINST YATE TOWN

Emirates FA Cup

13.09.2025Preliminary RoundRocester (H)2-1
20.09.20251st Qualifying RoundEastbourne Boro (A)3-1
04.10.20252nd Qualifying RoundRomford (H)5-2
18.10.20253rd Qualifying RoundHungerford Town (H)3-1
29.10.20254th Qualifying RoundAFC Telford (H)2-2p

If last season’s adventure to the 3rd Qualifying Round was enjoyable, this season’s effort was off the scale.

The majestic run cup looked like it may never happen by half-time of the Preliminary Round against Rocester of the East Midlands Counties Premier where they were trailling 1-0. A rollicking from Chris Bass during the break was needed and Brian Esperance once again saved the day with 2 goals.

The Ravens didn’t look back from this point on and made light work of higher level opposition in Eastboure Boro and Hungerford Town.

Fixure congestion meant the 4th Qualifying Round fixture with AFC Telford was played after the televised 1st Round draw. Carlisle City, the lowest ranked club left in the competition, awaited the victors in the 1st Round proper. Although somewhat an anti-climax, the club still desperately wanted to reach the 1st Round proper for the 1st time in their history.

Drama was in full supply in front of a record attendance of 2,627 at The Bowl and the match itself lived up to the occasion.

With the game tied at 1-1 and looking to be heading into extra time, Telford’s Kileba scored an 89th minute goal which everyone present thought was going to be the winning goal. However, in the 91st minute, Lewis Whitham stabbed home an equaliser for FC Isle of Man, what a moment that was, jubilation like never seen before at The Bowl.

Extra time was a stalemate and the game went to penalties. Unfortunately, the fall guys were FC Isle of Man’s normally most trusted and deadly spot-kick specialists. Both Brian Esperance and Bobby Johnson failed to even hit the target with their penalties. AFC Telford, of course, were flawless from 12 yards and went through.

Still, the Ravens best ever F.A. Cup performance. Surely, the 1st Round proper and a tasty tie with a Football League club can’t be too far away.

THE NORMALLY ICE-COOL ESPERANCE MISSES THE TARGET COMPLETELY IN THE SHOOTOUT

Buildbase FA Trophy

26.10.20252nd Qualifying RoundAvro (H)3-1
01.11.20253rd Qualifying RoundTrafford (H)2-1
13.12.20251st RoundRoyston Town0-2

It was familiar opposition in the FA Trophy this year. It needed 2 stoppage time penalties from Wesley Magee to get the Ravens past Avro at The Bowl. In quite a competitive and remarkable game which included 2 disallowed goals for Avro in the first half, Nielsen missed an opportunity from the spot to put FC Isle of Man in front. Jedd Townsend finally got the goal in the 69th minute only for striker James Sunderland to earn a straight red card 10 minutes later. With the man advantage, Avro forced an equaliser in the 84th minute. 2 minutes later, the Ravens were down to just 9 men when midfielder James Jordan hobbled off with a thigh injury. With extra time looming it was looking gloomy for the tired boys of Isle of Man. Finally a bit of good fortune arrived via the right forearm of Avro defender David Preece who unfairly used his arm to defend a corner. Magee put the penalty away to snatch the tie. In the 97th minute, Akim Samms was brought down in the box for Magee to again place a penalty into the bottom corner to well and truly give the scoreline a flattering touch.

An 89th minute winner from Jedd Townsend sent FC Isle of Man through at home to Trafford 2-1 in the 3rd Qualifying Round.

Just like the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round of 2022/23, a trip to Royston Town was too much for FC Isle of Man. Royston defeated us on penalties back in 2022 but this time it was a simpler affair for them, a comfortable 2-0 win with a goal in each half for The Crows sent The Ravens out of the competition.

A FINE FINISH FROM ROYSTON’S KEVIN FERNANDES AFTER 39 MINUTES

Integro League Challenge Cup

16.09.20251st RoundGraham St.Prims (A)1-3

Once again, the Integro League Cup was seen as nothing more than a distraction in what was a congested fixture list at the time. With the FA Cup to contend with, Bass sent out a 2nd string again and got the result his selection deserved.

RYANS SIEGER OPENING THE SCORING FOR GRAHAM ST.PRIMS AFTER 2 MINUTES

The F.A. Youth Cup

24.09.20251st Qualifying RoundAshton United U18’s (A)1-2

It was all going so well for FC Isle of Man’s U18’s at Hurst Cross, home of Ashton United. Promising winger turned striker Ray Rosimus put the young Ravens in front after 52 minutes with a fine finish beating the Ashton keeper at his near post from a tight angle. The young Ravens had the ball in the net a further 2 times in the 71st and 78th minute only for the assistant referee to flag both for marginal offside calls.

It all went pear-shaped fairly quickly and before you could blink the young Ravens were out of the competition at the first hurdle. Tony Wankiewicz headed home in the 84th minute for Ashton U18’s quickly followed by a 90th minute winner from Taylor O’Brien from range.

None of the current crop really threatened the first team this season with Chris Bass frustrated by the lack of investment in youth from the board with the club having such a healthy financial position currently.

THE UNFORTUNATELY NAMED WANKIEWICZ HEADS HOME FOR ASHTON UTD U18’S

FM21

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