The Isle of Man Football Association national women’s representative team return to action this weekend.
The side will play the first of their three friendlies as part of their preparations for the forthcoming Island Games in Guernsey this July.
This weekend they will play Accrington Stanley women’s team where footballing history will be made for both sides – playing at a league ground, the Wham Stadium.
There has been a lot of coverage locally building up to this event, with column inches in publications such as the Lancashire Telegraph, Accrington Observer and the Lancashire Business View, along with gaining traction on social media.
The fixture was arranged after the Isle of Man national women’s team goalkeeper Blae Cain, who is currently at university in the UK, signed for Accrington Stanley women.
It will be a real community occasion from 2pm and will see a pitch-side parade celebrating the success of women’s football in the local area, including the 180 players who currently play for Accrington women at various age levels.
It will also see the Accrington Pipe Band lead out both teams before kick-off and a crossbar challenge at half-time which will see strongman legend Mark Felix take part.
Wayne Lisy, the Isle of Man women’s team manager, said: ‘The players and coaching staff are very excited for our match against Accrington Stanley, especially due to the fact that we’ve been given the opportunity to play at the Wham Stadium.
‘The experience of playing a friendly competitive match against a massive club like Accrington Stanley will stand us in good stead for the build up to the Island Games.’
Speaking on the English side’s website, Sami Smithson, club chair of Accrington Stanley Women, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted and proud to be hosting our first match against a national team at the Wham Stadium.
‘Women’s football in the local area is growing and growing and what better way to celebrate that than showcasing our club to the wider public, but also to welcome others into the female football who may have previously not had the opportunity from all areas of the community.
‘The event is another big step on our journey as a football club and I would like to say a huge thank you to David Burgess, managing director of Accrington Stanley for all his support, as well as to the Isle of Man national women’s team - we can’t wait to welcome them to Accrington.’
Sunday’s game will be Lisy’s third match in charge of the Manx side, having beaten Ballyclare FC 3-1 and Airbus FC 6-2 in previous fixtures. Kick-off at the Wham Stadium is at 3pm.Further matches are scheduled for the Isle of Man against Upton on May 13 and Ynys Mon on May 27.
The Island Games take place between July 8-14.