Allen strikes twice as Originals last the pace

TEN years on, their pulling power remains strong and diehard Green Lions fans proved it at chilly Footes Lane on Sunday.

Original talent: Two-goal Ross Allen is at full stretch in attempting to get his goal attempt away while Frank Tobin comes in with a challenge at Footes Lane. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29060764)
Original talent: Two-goal Ross Allen is at full stretch in attempting to get his goal attempt away while Frank Tobin comes in with a challenge at Footes Lane. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29060764)

A crowd of 1,086 popped along to see the GFC ‘Originals’ challenge their modern-day replacements and ‘Newcomers’ to a festive anniversary battle that produced four goals, fittingly two apiece, including a double from and a late equaliser by Ross Allen.

It served as a belated Christmas present for the hundreds who have followed the community club from its competitive birth in 2011 and three and a half months on from their last run-out at home to FC Isle of Man, the Green Lions underlined what they still mean to so many islanders even when forced into hibernation by a pandemic.

As a game it was very competitive, far from an exhibition, both sides keen to take forward some bragging rights into the evening social planned.

Quite remarkably, the Originals began with exactly the XI that played the very first Combined Counties League game against Knaphill in 2011, and were led out by Sam Cochrane, their first signing a decade ago.

He played admirably for almost 45 minutes before giving way to the current captain, Jamie Dodd.

As for the ‘Newcomers’, they were skippered by Tom de la Mare and looked like emerging on top with goals from Charlton Gauvain and Louis Graham until Allen grabbed the late equaliser.

All the while, Island manager Chris Tardif looked every inch the former professional and his fine late save kept the old boys on level terms.

Nobody was more pleased with proceedings than GFC chairman and founder Mark Le Tissier.

‘The reaction we’ve had from everybody and the ticket sales beforehand were amazing,’ he said.

‘I’ve been looking forward to see everybody back together and recognise just how many players have come through the club and played down the years.

‘The quality of the football has been excellent.’

  • Match report in Tuesday's Guernsey Press.

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