Video - Late goals make it a routine win for Lions
Guernsey FC 3, Wembley 0 AHEAD of a season climax that will test them to their their limits, Guernsey FC will be all too glad if they can have further routine afternoons like this down at Footes Lane.
Highlights courtesy of GFCTV in partnership with
Guernsey FC 3, Wembley 0
AHEAD of a season climax that will test them to their their limits, Guernsey FC will be all too glad if they can have further routine afternoons like this down at Footes Lane.
Despite a below-par performance that never saw them get out of third or fourth gear, certainly in an attacking sense, the Green Lions completed their day in exactly the way that they wanted.
Three points, a clean sheet, no further injury worries originating from the game and all set for tomorrow's crunch clash at Egham Town...
True, they will have to play far better and keep the ball more efficiently if they are to leave West London with three points this midweek, but there were also positive signs to take forward from this victory over their fellow Lions.
Tony Vance's men looked solid at the back and despite Wembley posing a genuine threat going forward, they failed to find a way through a new-look and makeshift back five of Paul de Garis, Naro Zimmerman, Sam Cochrane, Alex Le Prevost and Simon Geall.
Only the Cochrane and Le Prevost centre-back pairing was the norm, with personal reasons ruling out first choice keeper Chris Tardif, but his able understudy did nothing wrong on the afternoon.
And if the full-backs weren't as expected, both Geall and Zimmerman looked good on the left and right respectively, Zimmerman in particular showing that his call-up to the GFC ranks could be more than a brief stay.
In front of them, Kieran Mahon and Scott Bradford formed the midfield axis and although they both did OK in ball-winning capacities, their time on the ball regularly went to waste.
But for all their flaws on the day, the home Lions still possess fearsome attacking options and these showed, with three different attackers all on the scoresheet by the time that excellent referee Paul Bain blew for full-time.
In the early stages, Wembley were defending a dangerous high line that GFC were looking to exploit with regularity and it was only Kristian Hale's sliding block that denied Ross Allen a third minute opener.
Allen, not for the last time, latched onto a through ball and rounded keeper Freddie O'Connell, who was always quick off his line, but Hale blocked the goal-bound effort.
Zimmerman headed straight at the visiting No. 1 in those early stages too, although Wembley did have more than their fair share of the ball and continually reached the edge of the GFC penalty area.
But time and again, they were prevented from going any further by the home back four and a Taiwo Edun free-kick wide of de Garis' near post was the closest they came early on.
On 13min., it was 1-0 GFC through that man Allen again, the striker netting his 95th competitive goal for the club and his 11th in his last four starts.
He again broke through and rounded O'Connell, this time his confident run and finish finding the empty bottom corner,
although it was all about the superb through ball from Matt Loaring that made it.
On an otherwise quiet afternoon for the hardworking forward, it was
arguably the pass of the season to date.
Loaring came close to turning home a Dom Heaume cross soon after, while Wembley wasted a decent set-piece by heading over de Garis' bar, but that was it for the first 45 minutes.
Upon the resumption, the hosts continued to huff and puff without ever looking near their fluent best, with Bradford withdrawn on the hour mark, allowing a return to action for new dad Glyn Dyer.
He added a bit more dynamism for GFC and for the next 10 minutes or so, they dominated and could have wrapped up proceedings.
O'Connell stuck out a leg excellently to deny Allen's one-on-one angled shot from Dyer's brilliant diagonal ball, while Loaring's successful effort seconds later was correctly adjudged offside.
Richard Brown was inches away from levelling it at the other end, before a series of dangerous GFC corners.
O'Connell could only parry Mahon's effort behind and after the first corner was again turned behind, Cochrane should have scored from the next, but couldn't bundle the ball over the line with either head or foot – the post was close as he could get.
After that danger had passed, the visiting reds had a corner barrage of their own, but a series of last-ditch blocks and tackles denied the equaliser, in the most panicked spell GFC would face.
By now, Nigel Hutton had entered the fray in place of Loaring, with perhaps a point to prove after being left out of the starting XI after his recent goalscoring form, a fact later admitted by Vance.
He would end the afternoon with a goal and an assist from his 20-minute cameo.
With 81min. on the clock, Hutton was on corner duty and although his ball in was not the best, it deflected out nicely for Dave Rihoy, waiting on the edge of the penalty area.
He opened up his body and fired towards goal, his effort squeezing through O'Connell's defences and doubling the lead, with an evident sigh of relief emanating around the 992 crowd.
With the game now won, the very best was saved until last, Hutton making it 3-0 and rounding it off in style on 88min.
Heaume's ball set the young striker away, but there was still plenty to do as he went through on goal still some 25 yards out at least and with O'Connell quickly bearing down on him.
But without breaking stride and with his first touch, Hutton hit a sublime lofted chip into the back of the net and further justify his claim for a starting place in tomorrow night's big game.
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