Horsham 6, Guernsey FC 2 THE woes of winter are worsening by the week for Guernsey FC, after another away day horror result in their Ryman South campaign.
Horsham 6, Guernsey FC 2
THE woes of winter are worsening by the week for Guernsey FC, after another away day horror result in their Ryman South campaign.
Right now, the Green Lions’ latest set of statistics make grim reading.
One win in eight games, without a win on their travels in six weeks and having conceded 13 goals in their last three away matches, all against sides considerably lower in the league table.
What’s more, their defensive injury crisis could be worsening, as they look to get out of this nightmare run with a crucial series of games coming up over Christmas.
The players are good enough to come out of this the other side, of that there is still little question, but there is no point shying away from the undeniable fact that right now, this is a major slump.
In fairness, there are extenuating circumstances as to why they were stung so heavily by the ‘Hornets’.
That aforementioned injury pile-up, which added youngsters Tom Martin and Tom de la Mare to it on this occasion, saw the following back four deployed at the end as they came under the cosh.
From right to left they read Nigel Hutton (a centre forward), Jamie Dodd, de la Mare (a centre midfielder and only half-fit at best after a late clash of knees) and Glyn Dyer (a winger stroke attacker).
What is most ironic about this performance at Goring’s Mead was that prior to half-time, GFC were on top, in control of the contest and playing some lovely attacking football.
Yet, they went in at half-time 3-1 down thanks to a quickfire double-strike moments before the break and, from being in command, they had a mountain to climb.
They never looked like scaling that, especially when Billy Dunn struck for the second time of a superb hat-trick – the third successive match that somebody has hit a treble against GFC – just before the hour mark.
In truth, whereas the first-half display had provided some bright rays of encouragement, one of their best efforts in a while, the second 45 minutes did not.
The Lions were dreadful after the restart and, for all of their unavailability issues, it was a second-half display that manager Tony Vance will surely have told his team was not good enough.
Horsham showed them how clinical you need to be at this level and credit to the side struggling in the league, as they have now produced two excellent displays to record a league double over GFC.
In left-winger Dunn, they had the best player on the pitch – comfortably so – although their centre-back pairing of Gary Charman and Glen Woodburn also excelled.
That pair were needed to perform in the early exchanges, as GFC gave no clue as to the outcome that was about to unfold because they started well and with real intent.
The hunger that some supporters have criticised recently was abundantly there, as they pressed Horsham into regular mistakes with purpose and played some decent passing football, too.
All that was lacking was a final bit of guile in the final third, a killer pass to feet, with the final ball rolling half-a-yard short or long, or getting stuck at somebody’s feet a second too long.
The service being provided down by the right by de la Mare and at times, Marc McGrath, was fantastic, while they also caused problems down the left.
McGrath’s rising shot and Dave Rihoy’s deflected effort wide aside, though, there were no other real attempts of note.
Until the half-hour mark, any brief Horsham attack was easily dealt with by GFC at the other end, until the deadlock was broken against the run of play.
Out of nowhere, a brilliant cross in from the right was expertly headed home by Jamie Cade and GFC had been punished for not scoring while on top, although they were level on 38min.
A well-worked corner between Dyer and Matt Loaring saw the latter pass across to Rihoy, who shifted out of his feet on the edge of the box and fire goalwards.
The shot was on target, but probably being saved, until it took a massive deflection and nestled in the bottom corner, completely wrong-footing home keeper Michael Hunter.
But then came the sucker punch and Horsham took control of the contest, a lead that the visitors would never be able to respond to.
Firstly, with 42min. on the clock, the brilliant Dunn skipped past de la Mare on the left, across the box, shifted across the two GFC centre-backs and fired in off the foot of the far post. It was a quite stunning individual goal.
The third was far more simple, however.
GFC fell asleep at the back and allowed Tony Nwachukwu in, who made no mistake to slide past Chris Tardif and stun the Lions.
The first-half display may have given them some confidence of getting back into it, if they could find a killer touch in attack, but as soon as the second half started, the tide turned.
GFC were no longer overrunning their opponents and were making silly errors of their own, with a 45-minute display that never exuded any confidence of a turnaround.
They were second to every loose and second ball, while giving away possession sloppily, which Horsham, having survived one scare with a Ross Allen surging run, were happy to take advantage of.
Byron Napper had already gone close before Dunn settled it once and for all, surging through a massive hole in the GFC backline and firing past Tardif.
Martin would soon be withdrawn with concussion, with Hutton coming on, while young Danny Hale also got another taste of GFC action, but it continued to be one-way traffic.
However, out of somewhere GFC grabbed a lifeline and could have threatened one of the great comebacks.
With 11min. still left, Dodd steered home in cool fashion after a corner found his feet for a rare goal, before Rihoy squandered a glorious one-on-one chance to set up an incredible finale.
However, Hunter’s exceptional save ended any such hopes.
Dunn stepped inside of Dodd after breaking away again and fired across Tardif for his treble and sentence GFC to their fate in the final minute, although it hadn’t finished yet.
Deep in stoppage time, it got even worse for the visitors when Akwasi Fobi-Edusei fired home from 18 yards, confirming GFC’s biggest-ever competitive defeat.
Horsham: Hunter, Hamilton, Charman, Woodburn, King, Napper (Frankland 90), Harris (Sargent 81), Nwachukwu, Dunn, Kaffo, Cade (Fobi-Edusei 64).
Guernsey FC: Tardif, de la Mare, Le Prevost (Pereira 81), Dodd, Martin (Hutton 62), Mahon, Dyer, Loaring, Rihoy, McGrath (Hale 77), Allen.
Referee: M. Hayden.