Bels 4, St Peter 1
IT MIGHT possibly have been Bels' best 45 minutes of football in their 109-year history. The Guernsey champions' second-half performance in front of a crowd of more than 400 at the Corbet Field on Saturday ensured that they took the Upton Park Cup that they last won in 1960. At half-time the score was 1-1 with Jersey champions St Peter in the ascendance at the end of the first half.
But Bels turned that around in some fashion. In a magical six minutes they found the back of the net three times.
It soon became clear that the blue-and-whites were getting to grips with the game when five minutes after the restart, Marc McGrath had a golden opportunity. The Bels man was free in the visitors' box but he got too clever and it was all wasted.
A couple of minutes later, McGrath again found himself with the ball in a dangerous position, but his back-heel failed to find his strike partner Darragh Duffy.
But then McGrath made amends for his mistakes with 20 minutes left on the clock when, after a long throw into the area by Brent Marquand, Scott Bradford found the striker who swivelled and volleyed the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards out - a top class finish.
A minute later the score was 3-1.
Duffy turned his man in and out on the left edge of the area and it seemed he had overplayed the ball, but his delightful little chip confounded St Peter keeper Gareth Bayley who could only punch it in.
Now all Bels, they took the game beyond the shell-shocked Jersey team when McGrath got his second four minutes later.
The livewire forward, who seemed to enjoy bating his markers, was unmarked at the back post when Brent Marquand knocked the ball into the area.
McGrath had no problems heading the ball home before he wheeled off to celebrate with his dad in the crowd.
With the striker getting excitable, his coach did the right thing to substitute him after he recklessly took down St Peter's left back Kevan Crowell. It was better to bring him off than have him sent off.
Bels captain Leighton Chainey was majestic in the centre of the defence alongside Sam Cochrane.
Meanwhile, Ben Coulter, 16, started in the unusual position of right back and deservedly earned himself the man-of-the-match award.
The defence ensured that St Peter never had a look in during the second half and that did not change during the last 10 minutes.
Wild scenes from the Bels players and supporters followed the final whistle.
But it was a different story in the first half.
Bels had taken the lead just before half-an-hour when Marquand took his time to pick his spot out from 25 yards.
The tall winger's low drive went in off the post.
Bels failed to capitalise on their advantage as the visitors began to run the show.
Through Peter Vincenti junior in a creative midfield role, the reds consistently pressurised Rhys Gower's goal.
They came close to equalising on 36 minutes, when Bradley Vowden shot over at the back post when the ball came over from out wide.
And then, in a near carbon copy, the talented Vincenti also could not keep his effort down at full stretch from a cross.
The Jersey champs proceeded to get the goal they deserved a minute before half-time when, after a mistake by Duffy, Marco Vieira was gifted the ball and was through on goal.
Well, he was until Cochrane scythed him down and Championship referee Paul Taylor turned down the Guernsey defender's claims that he took the ball first to point to the spot.
Vincenti made no mistake with the penalty.