Guernsey FC 4, Erith and Belvedere 0
Ross Allen interviewed by Matt Lihou.
Video courtesy of GFCTV in partnership with Kings Life
Guernsey FC 4, Erith and Belvedere 0
AFTER the drama that this season’s FA Vase has already brought, a serene passage through Guernsey FC’s latest challenge may have seemed a tad optimistic.
But that is exactly what they got as a superb performance saw Tony Vance’s Green Lions maul the opposing ‘Deres’ after turning in a performance of pace, vibrancy, entertainment and goals – lots of them.
In truth, they were far too good for an Erith & Belvedere side that were not a patch on their neighbours Erith Town – who had been cruelly denied by GFC three weekends back.
Ross Allen took the headlines – and the man-of-the-match award – after a superb hat-trick display, but was ably supported with standout performances all over the park.
Attacking colleagues Dave Rihoy and Dom Heaume were exceptional, as was skipper Sam Cochrane. But perhaps most encouraging was the effectiveness of the new-look midfield three.
Kieran Mahon is growing in influence week by week alongside Alex Le Prevost and Heaume, with their performances starting to go some way to coping with the losses of Angus Mackay and Ryan-Zico Black.
It is a trio that could help propel GFC closer to Wembley and although that growing dream is still some way off, team performances like this make it a realistic aim.
After a nervy opening 30 seconds or so here, this particular obstacle was cleared with surprising ease.
Erith could have become the latest visitors to the island to take an early lead.
They shot wide in the first attack of the game, but after that it was the home forwards who took centre stage.
Playing a dangerously high defensive line, Erith were being ripped apart at will, Glyn Dyer curling wide the Lions’ first real chance of the contest.
He then missed another by blazing over the bar after fine build-up play with Allen, who showed his colleague how to do it by opening the scoring on 9min.
Ollie McKenzie and Le Prevost both passed their way out of trouble well at the back, before centre-back Jamie Dodd’s long ball forward into the left-hand channel.
It was expertly brought down by Rihoy, who then turned his marker inside out and curled a beauty of a low cross into the six-yard area, demanding a touch.
Allen timed his run perfectly to beat his own marker and provide it, Erith keeper Scott Chalmers-Stevens picking the ball out of his far corner.
One could have become two within seconds of the restart as Rihoy broke free down the left again, this time his low cross being well dealt with.
And it was deja vu a minute later as Dyer’s floated ball saw Rihoy break the offside trap, hare down on goal and his low cross eluded everyone, including Allen at the back post.
In fairness to Erith, they did start to learn their lesson and tighten up a bit, but they should still have been punished when Rihoy skewed a close-range effort horribly wide.
But it did not look like mattering too much and it didn’t, the lead finally doubled on 24min., again Dodd providing it with a raking diagonal ball from the back.
This time, Heaume superbly won a flicked header into the path of the marauding Jacques Isabelle down the right, who didn’t need to break stride.
He then squared low for Allen, whose turn and left-footed shot across Chalmers-Stevens found the far bottom corner in style.
After the high-flying nature of Erith’s season so far, the home fans could have been forgiven for thinking how well things were going – and it was about to get even better.
A calamitous Erith defensive mix-up saw a hoofed clearance hit the back of another blue-and-white shirt and the loose ball set Rihoy away on goal.
He rounded his one remaining obstacle – Chalmers-Stevens – and coolly slotted home into the empty net to make it 3-0 with still only 43min. on the clock.
That would have made Vance’s half-time team talk somewhat simpler. And even at this stage, there appeared to be no way back for the visiting ‘Deres’.
They threw on regular goal-getter Adam Burchell at the break, but he had no more luck than top scorer Andy Constable did, both men having quiet afternoons.
And after 50min., it was game, set and match for GFC, as Allen secured yet another match ball and took his season’s tally to an impressive 27 strikes.
One-on-one again with Chalmers-Stevens, he steered across the Erith No. 1 into the corner and sent Footes Lane into raptures once again.
Le Prevost was one of the goalscoring heroes of the last round and he stung the fingers of Chalmers-Stevens on this occasion, although the remaining half-hour was about conserving energy for GFC.
With another game as soon as tomorrow night, Vance gave decent run outs to Matt Loaring, Nigel Hutton and Joe Alvarez, with the trio of Dyer, Rihoy and McKenzie getting some rest time.
Although out of the contest, Erith could and should have pulled at least one back, as both Paul Springett and Burchell fired decent chances wide of Chris Tardif’s goal.
Tardif did also have some work to do to maintain his clean sheet and a fine reaction stop denied Drew Crush from close range as the minutes ticked by.
Even after some top-quality performances, the best was very nearly saved until last as Allen came close to adding his latest contender for goal of the season in stoppage time.
His amazingly quick feet saw him waltz in and out of at least three Erith defenders in a confined space, but his final effort cannoned back off the crossbar – twice – and out for a goal-kick.
But it was academic because GFC’s name was long ready to be put into the hat for today’s last-32 draw.
And on this evidence, their billing as second-favourites has much justification.
- Guernsey FC: Tardif, Isabelle, Cochrane, Dodd, McKenzie (Alvarez 78), Le Prevost, Mahon, Heaume, Dyer (Loaring 63), Rihoy (Hutton 75), Allen.
- Erith & Belvedere: Chalmers-Stevens, Matthews, Springett, Crush, Davies, McCann (Hasler 70), Benner, Wood, Smith (Kissi 53), Wood (Burchell 46), Constable.
- Referee: J. Pike.