Green Lions end year with a win

Guernsey FC 2, Corinthian-Casuals 1 THERE was a moment deep into five minutes of added time that the handful of hardy Corinthian-Casuals supporters behind Chris Tardif’s goal stopped singing and held their breaths.

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Dave Rihoy is tripped during GFC's game with Corinthian-Casuals. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 1362391)

Guernsey FC 2, Corinthian-Casuals 1

THERE was a moment deep into five minutes of added time that the handful of hardy Corinthian-Casuals supporters behind Chris Tardif’s goal stopped singing and held their breaths.

The visitors had won a corner and, having been given a lifeline with an 88th goal via the head of GFC defender Jamie Dodd, the travelling support who had paid £240 apiece for a day-return from Gatwick might have imagined that a late Christmas present in the fashion of an equalising goal might arrive.

To the relief of the 971 GFC fans largely in the dry of the Garenne Stand, the corner came to nothing and a short while later referee Samuel Ogles blew for full time.

GFC had got off the hook.

It was the right result, of course, but hardly a vintage performance against the league’s bottom side who throughout looked far stronger in attack than in defence.

The Green Lions should have won far more comfortably than they did, but having not capitalised on a several clear chances there were some worrying moments for the home support as the plucky Casuals came on strong after the break.

Initially, it seemed, GFC would win comfortably.

From the first whistle the home side created plenty of openings and as early as the fourth minute Ross Allen pulled a great opportunity across Danny Bracken’s goal and wide of the far post.

On 18min. the home side were ahead.

Marc McGrath made a determined run on the byline and pulled back for Dave Rihoy to turn in with his left foot at full stretch.

A minute later McGrath had a great opening himself but his shot was kicked off the line by defender Danny Dudley and as GFC continued to pile on the pressure Allen mis-kicked at the end of a slick short-corner routine.

In the middle of the park the busy combination of Matt Loaring, in a deep-lying role, Dom Heaume and the elusive Glyn Dyer and Rihoy were controlling matters. But half-an-hour in it all started to fall apart.

Corinthian-Casuals started to get a foothold in the game and as they did Tardif made a brave block at the feet of Dudley after the huge Gareth Witter had won an aerial ball into the heart of the home box.

Then Ellis Wilson-Joseph missed a solid gold chance from Witter’s chest down, firing wide from 12 yards.

On 38min. young Nick Trebert, who was to have an encouragingly sound game in his first full start at left-back, came to their rescue by clearing over his own bar, but the half ended with a chance which McGrath would not normally pass up. But such is his luck at present that his shot hit Bracken smack in the face.

Disappointingly for the home support – but happily for the Corinthian-Casuals group who had now attached their banners to the barriers at the Les Ozouets end of the ground and still sang heartily – the visitors continued to threaten in the early stages of the second half.

A fantastic fingertip save by Tardif denied Jamie Byatt an equaliser and soon after Tardif made another superb block to deny Wilson-Joseph after Sam Cochrane’s misplaced header.

GFC had lost all rhythm but occasionally threatened on the break and when Allen put McGrath away one-on-one with the keeper, it was Bracken who won out.

But with 16min, remaining GFC got a huge slick of luck with the award of a penalty.

It seemed for all money as if Allen had lost the opening after a heavy first touch, but he clattered into keeper Bracken and tumbled to the ground.

From a distance it seemed Allen had fouled Bracken, but to widespread surprise Ogles pointed to the spot and the striker picked himself up to convert the spot-kick.

Afterwards, though, the visiting keeper reportedly apologised to his teammates for bringing the striker down, perhaps making the referee’s decision less contentious.

Corinthian-Casuals still did not lie down, though, and Byatt went close with a 30-yard free-kick and Cochrane made a goal-line block from sub Joel Thompson.

The points seemed safe but on 88min. Dodd misplaced an attempted clearing header straight into his own net and the goal made it an unnecessarily nervous finish for the Green Lions.

TEAMS

Guernsey FC: Tardif, Mackay (Hutton 84), Cochrane, Dodd, Trebert, Loaring, Heaume, Dyer, Rihoy, McGrath (Hale 89), Allen.

Corinthian-Casuals: Bracken, Williams (Defoe), Hodges, Dudley, Turley, Green, Byatt, Hicks, Coleman, Wilson-Joseph (Spencer), Witter (Thompson 46).

Referee: S. Ogles.