Saints now the chasers as Rovers take top spot

ROVERS went top of the FNB Priaulx League with another narrow win, but coach Kevin Gillease was not in the mood for complaining about performance.

Rovers goalkeeper Adam Bullock punches clear under pressure from several Northerners including goal-scorer Sam Murray at Port Soif on Saturday. (Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 07-11-20. (28887862)
Rovers goalkeeper Adam Bullock punches clear under pressure from several Northerners including goal-scorer Sam Murray at Port Soif on Saturday. (Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 07-11-20. (28887862)

‘We are making it hard for ourselves, but just happy for the win and three points,’ he said in the immediate aftermath of a 4-3 victory over a Northerners side who have now lost five times in 10 league starts this season and lie lower mid-table.

Northerners certainly gave the new table-toppers plenty to worry about, but their chaotic defending proved an Achilles heel.

Rovers had gone one up inside two minutes with a Tom Strawbridge header and after Ben Acey had capitalised on Batiste’s unlucky slip to equalize, Sam Hall put Rovers back in front.

Sam Murray levelled again just before the break, but Rovers’ second-half dominance of a scrappy affair saw Blair Howitt and Louis Graham make it 4-2 before Murray got his second in stoppage time.

‘It could have been a lot more comfortable, especially after we got the fourth and should have seen it out, plain sailing,’ added Gillease.

‘But then “Muzza” pops up, like he does, and we were under pressure again.’

Gillease said losing midfielder Jack Batiste early on had ‘hurt them big time’.

‘We changed the shape today with him and Jack Grundy sitting in the middle, and to lose him straight away [after seven minutes] hurt us – there was a 15-minute spell when we were ragged. But we recovered well, especially in the second half.

‘I said to the lads before the game, it’s got to be three points today, never mind going top of the league.

‘Now Saints will have to do the chasing.’

In the second round of the Guernsey FA Cup Manzur despatched Alderney 6-1 and Rangers also reached the last eight with a 6-0 win over Manzur Reserves.

  • Full match report in Monday's Guernsey Press.

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