Jersey 0, Guernsey 2 HE HAS been involved at the top of local football for a decade now, but Dominic Heaume will never have enjoyed such a sweet weekend in Guernsey colours.
Jersey 0, Guernsey 2
HE HAS been involved at the top of local football for a decade now, but Dominic Heaume will never have enjoyed such a sweet weekend in Guernsey colours.
On Friday night, he was Guernsey FC’s hero with both goals in their cup final victory and he repeated the trick at Springfield, ensuring it was green-and-white ribbons on the famous Muratti Vase come full-time.
They may have somehow capitulated in last year’s final, but it never looked like happening here, as Kevin Graham’s team came with a game plan and executed it faultlessly.
Jersey were restricted to one real chance – where Chris Tardif somehow denied Jack Boyle’s goal-bound effort – as Guernsey’s midfield trio dominated proceedings and created pressure throughout.
Nobody put in a below-par performance on a glorious day for the greens, the first time they had won by at least a two-goal margin on Jersey soil since 1978.
Ryan-Zico Black was excellent on his debut and picked up the man-of-the-match award, while Angus Mackay was snapping at heels alongside him, but it was Heaume who was the real star.
Even without his two impressive goals, his work-rate going forward and back was immense, as he looked a threat whenever he got on the ball, linking up well with the front three, spearheaded by Ross Allen.
Allen was passed fit to start despite his recent injuries and lasted the full 90 minutes, looking threatening despite clearly not being 100% mobile at times.
Indeed, it was he who had the game’s first real chance after 7min., when he surged through the heart of the Jersey defence after Black slid him through.
He beat a couple of red shirts, but found his path blocked by Luke Campbell’s tackle, a rare bit of success for last year’s Caesarean equalising hero, who looked uneasy against Allen.
From that, Jersey quickly broke and nearly got a chance themselves, but Guernsey captain Sam Cochrane was alert to the danger, the first of a number of timely interventions from the visiting captain.
He partnered Alex Le Prevost in defence, with Jamie Dodd at left-back, in what were Graham’s truly big selection decisions of the day and ones that ultimately paid off.
Allen came close again after Black’s quick free-kick saw him rake a 50-yard diagonal ball to Jacques Isabelle, who crossed first-time, Allen heading over Craig Fletcher’s crossbar on the run.
The mightily impressive Jersey striker Joe Murphy was another to be halted by a well-timed Cochrane tackle, while the Sarnian skipper nearly had joy at the other end on two separate occasions.
Black’s corners were a recurring theme throughout the game, as the first-half alone saw the count reach double figures and Cochrane had a pair of chances in as many minutes.
He headed wide under pressure the first time, while the second was a better chance, as he skewed wide at the far post after being given space.
It had been a far closer start to the match than at the Track a year ago and just as frantic, but Guernsey were now starting to get a real grip on proceedings and did not let up until the climax.
Craig Russell had the home side’s only effort on target in the first half when he headed straight at Tardif, although the visiting keeper had to be quick off his line to deny Gallichan soon after.
But with the half-hour mark approaching, the deadlock was finally broken and to the delight of a sizeable travelling following, it was Heaume who did it.
Black’s latest corner was by far the most powerful of the lot, going over everyone except the back-rushing Dodd on the far side, who did very well to head back across goal into danger.
There was Heaume near the six-yard line and his tidy left-footed finish may have been hit into the ground, but it found its target, beating the stationary Fletcher at his near post.
Despite now having the initiative, a chance to double the lead did not come until 42min., when Guernsey pressure somehow did not result in a 2-0 lead at the half-time break.
Isabelle played a good one-two with Mackay and surged down the right into the area, but his angled shot was well parried by Fletcher at the expense of a corner.
There followed a mini-period of domination, that nearly saw Dodd score with the last chance of the half.
Rihoy’s quick throw to Black saw the midfielder cross quickly and the big left-back did excellently to arch his body and head powerfully towards goal, only to see the underside of the crossbar deny him.
That would have undoubtedly been the killer blow and Jersey changed things slightly after the half-time restart, looking to go more direct.
It nearly brought a reward on 50min., a long ball forward bouncing kindly for Boyle some 30 yards out and Tardif slightly off his line.
He unleashed a stunning dipping half-volley that looked a nailed-on certainty to equalise, but Tardif’s footwork and backtracking allowed him to produce a world-class tip over the bar and maintain his side’s lead.
That would actually be as close as Jersey got to scoring all afternoon, their threat not really enhanced even with the introduction of Danny Flynn and Chris Andrews for Russell and Gallichan.
By then, though, it was 2-0 Guernsey, as Heaume doubled the lead moments before the introduction of that opposition pair.
Rihoy’s whipped cross from the right was inviting, but the header from Heaume was top-drawer, his effort flying across Fletcher and nestling in the far corner, putting one Sarnian hand on the Vase.
Jersey would still have believed they had a way back after displaying character on numerous previous occasions and Heaume showed his defensive qualities to turn behind a testing Murphy cross soon after.
Murphy also headed straight at Tardif from Jack Cannon’s cross, although they generally found it difficult to work their way through the strong Guernsey line.
Guernsey shuffled their own pack by introducing Glyn Dyer for Rihoy, with the little man looking dangerous after his entrance to the action.
He could have scored within a minute when Allen laid him in down the left and his effort deflected wickedly off Campbell, but Fletcher reacted well to keep it out.
That effort was on 74min. and another was not created on either side until the last minute, by which time Guernsey had worked themselves to the brink of a surprisingly comfortable success.
Dyer nearly put the icing on the cake when good work from Allen and Black saw him one-on-one with Fletcher, but his effort beat both the keeper and the far post, hitting the outside of the woodwork.
The home side threw men forward in desperation, but when James Hudson’s ambitious effort flew miles over, the game was up and the final whistle from excellent referee Tony Bates merely confirmed that.
It allowed Cochrane to get his hands on the Vase for the first time since 2010 and complete an unprecedented weekend of success for Guernsey football.