Winning return is marred by allegation of racism

GUERNSEY FC are back.

It took them just 90 minutes to climb off the bottom of the Isthmian South Central table thanks to a 3-1 victory but, yet, they left Footes Lane on Saturday with a headache having suffered the club’s first-ever racial incident.

‘It is disappointing ... it just doesn’t happen in Guernsey,’ said GFC boss Tony Vance later. But, sadly, it did and it required Vance himself to intervene, pulling away from the spectator barriers a very upset Sutton Common Rovers coach, while at the same time the alleged perpetrator quickly departed the ground.

So while on the pitch Ross Allen’s brace and a brilliant opener from Kyle Smith did for the troubled visitors, GFC ended the afternoon answering many questions and the club delivering a statement which said ‘they condemned all forms of discrimination’ but until fully investigating the incident would not be making any more comment.

A Sutton Common Rovers coach later said the incident had been dealt with very well by the home club, but there is no doubt it had cast a shadow over a fine performance for the club’s first game since February 2020.

The three points were sufficient to lift the Green Lions above Staines Town in the early-season table on goal difference and within one of four clubs who have played either five or six more fixtures.

Vance was full of praise for his team.

‘It was a great start, we really went at them and from the first minute we were sniffing blood and creating some chances.

‘Even before the first goal we were threatening with some chances and certainly had them on the back foot.

‘It was part of the game plan. I was really proud of the players the way they performed today, as you have to consider that there are 595 days we have not been playing at this level.’

Vance agree that the touchline incident had disrupted his side and given the visitors, then two goals down, a fillip.

Sutton Common Rovers coaches make the referee aware of an alleged racist remark made by a member of the crowd. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 30070749)

‘They got energy from the crowd disruption, unfortunately, and that really motivated them because they were really frustrated about it.

‘One of the crowd said something that wasn’t right. The guy has apologised, but it shouldn’t happen.

‘We lost our momentum from it and they gained some from it.’

  • Match report in Monday's Guernsey Press.

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