Belgraves, who came through their own thriller against Rovers 2nds at Port Soif, await in the quarters where Rovers firsts seemed destined to reach when Ben Le Tocq stepped up to take a penalty which, had it been converted, would have made it 4-1 with 20 minutes remaining.
Twice Batiste threw himself right to block Le Tocq’s two efforts and he also blocked a follow-up to keep the score 3-1.
But de Garis had already seen enough and made a double-change that changed the flow and character of the game. In no time, Sylvans were level and Kyle Smith won the game with the 90 minutes just up.
‘I changed things at training on Thursday night to try something different and it didn’t work, clearly,’ said the coach whose team have now gone nine league and cup games undefeated, winning the vast majority.
‘The substitutions were crucial, most of all ‘’Gus’’ who put his foot on the ball, looked to play simple, and with his talking.
‘From there on we were on top. We started to play again.’
Yet, it could easily have been 4-1, game over.
‘They’ve got some terrific players on their side and they opened us up at times and had a bit of luck too,’ said de Garis.
‘But it was a good set-piece routine that got us back into it.’
Crucial to the turnaround was the last-quarter performance of star man Kyle Smith, who suddenly sparked into life with his second goal to make it 2-3.
‘He’s a different player when he does [spark],’ said his coach.
‘For 50 minutes he was wandering around with a bad head and then something has kicked him off and he’s gone up two-three gears, running the show. We also had “Smeedy” then in his right position.’
De Garis said it was his error to put his midfielder creator out wide. ‘It just didn’t work. There was a reason behind that, but it didn’t work and we needed to change it. It came up trumps.’
As for Batiste, he is a keeper who is known to have impressed the man who knows more about goalkeeping locally than anyone – Chris Tardif.
‘He’s a terrific lad ... terrific attitude,’ said de Garis.
‘A good goalkeeper who’s improving all the time.’
Revised quarter-final draw:
Sylvans v. Belgraves; St Martin’s v. Vale Rec; Rangers v. Manzur Res. or Red Lion North; Northerners v. Manzur or Alderney.