Rihoy finds his feet as Green Lions roar back

Guernsey FC 4, Herne Bay 2 THE trumpeter tunefully played ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ and on the shortest day of the year, suitably black and very wet, it was certainly that for the visitors to Footes Lane on Saturday.

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Dave Rihoy shoots Guernsey FC ahead. (Picture by Tom Tardif, 1361598)

Guernsey FC 4, Herne Bay 2

THE trumpeter tunefully played ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ and on the shortest day of the year, suitably black and very wet, it was certainly that for the visitors to Footes Lane on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Green Lions roared back to winning ways, revelling on a slippery surface to end their miserable run in some style and give the 724 paying fans, not to mention all those waylaid by Christmas shopping or put off by the driving rain, an early Christmas gift.

Herne Bay, highly dangerous opponents who will argue little went for them, made GFC work hard for only their second win in nine matches, but nobody could deny the Green Lions were the better side on the day.

They got some good breaks too.

Just before the interval and already leading 2-0 thanks to terrific strikes from Dave Rihoy and the returning Dom Heaume, referee Michael Webb gifted them a highly-dubious penalty from which Ross Allen scored.

Then, within the first 10 seconds of Webb getting the second half under way, Ben Brown went in high on Kieran Mahon in the middle of the pitch and the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

Despite the miserable weather it was great entertainment, the conditions being ideal for ball players such as Allen, Rihoy and Glyn Dyer.

The trio flitted here, there and everywhere in the opening half as GFC, propelled by a stiff wind, played some lovely, fluid football to leave Herne under regular pressure.

It took the home side 10 minutes to gain the lead and it owed everything to the touch and balance of Rihoy, who killed the ball instantly as he brought it down 35 yards from goal, moved forward 10 yards and then clipped a low left-foot drive which left Jack Delo on his knees as it flew in at his left-hand post.

A minute later Rihoy nearly got a second, but this time saw his shot fly just wide of the far post, but it was far from one-way traffic and at the other end the persistently dangerous winger, Sam Hassler, cut in from the left and drew a near-post save from Chris Tardif, who was to be impeccable throughout.

The Green Lions were making the most of the elements, though, and in the space of a minute Delo parried away a fierce Allen shot and Dyer saw his 30-yard drive sear inches over the bar.

Tardif made a superb stop from Brown on 28min. and it was a vital denial as GFC went straight up the other end and doubled their lead.

Allen headed into Heaume’s path with space to run on goal, but instead of the expected drive the midfielder chipped the ball with impressive delicacy and the ball floated over Delo and into the corner. Wonderful goal.

‘I didn’t think he had a chip like that in him,’ said Vance afterwards.

The game became heated and Herne’s anger reached new levels on 38min. when Tom Martin burst into the area off the left flank and with minimal contact went down.

Mr Webb pointed to the spot and, after lengthy remonstrations which brought about one caution, Allen tucked away the penalty with nonchalance.

Rihoy, arguably GFC’s best performer, went close again on the brink of half-time and it was his superb pass which was to provide GFC with the launch pad for a fourth goal with 20 minutes remaining, just a minute after Herne had given themselves a lifeline via a fine Hassler strike.

Herne had made light of playing with 10 men after Brown’s dismissal, and threatened long before Hassler momentarily reduced the deficit.

Twice, Tardif had saved well and, on another occasion, Hassler whipped a first-time effort just over the bar.

Hassler also thought he had won his side a penalty just short of the hour mark, but picked himself up to see the referee flashing a yellow for simulation.

Dyer then sloppily gave away possession which led to Hassler scoring on 68min.

But a minute later Rihoy put Allen away in space with a fine crossfield pass and after a 30-yard burst, the striker played a delayed one-two with Heaume before leaving a defender for dead and firing home the goal which would surely make the points safe.

Heaume then missed an absolute sitter on Allen’s feed before, with 10min. remaining, Hassler hit the byline and his pull-back was forced home from a couple of yards by substitute Nathan Eastwood.

In the dying minutes Nigel Hutton burst through from the right and shot just wide for GFC, while the last action saw Tardif complete another save.

TEAMS

Guernsey FC: Tardif, Geall, Cochrane, Dodd, Dodd, Martin (Trebert 78); Mahon, Dyer, Rihoy (Hutton 73), Loaring (McGrath 72), Heaume; Allen.

Herne Bay: Delo, M. Turner (J. Turner 57), Sayer, Walder, Sanders, Benner, Hassler, Brown, O’Connell (Eastwood 64), Carey, Lawrence.

Referee: M. Webb.