Last-gasp goals leave GFC ‘deathly quiet’

Guernsey FC faced late heartbreak on Monday evening as bottom of the league Merstham scored two injury-time goals to secure a point.

The result means the Green Lions stay 19th in the Isthmian South Central table, although they are now level on points with Tooting & Mitcham United, Leatherhead, Bedfont Sports and Thatcham.

‘In all fairness, it was a good away battle,’ said GFC coach Colin Fallaize, who admitted that the players were crestfallen at the end.

‘In a funny way, it was great to finish a game and walk into a dressing room that’s deathly quiet because normally when we get a draw away from home it can be like we’ve won a World Cup or something.

‘It was obviously disappointing at the end, but it was a decent, battling performance and I’ll admit that I was a little bit suspect about us playing Saturday and then Monday – I did not think some of the boys would cope with it, but they proved me wrong.

‘I am going to give Vancey [Tony Vance] a bit of credit here because for the last couple of games he has tried to change the mindset a bit, to remind people of their roles and responsibilities, so we have set up a little differently, played a slightly different way and I think the penny has dropped with a couple of them.’

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GFC took the lead midway through the first half as Matt Loaring rose highest to meet Joe Alvarez’s inswinging corner to head in his first goal of the season.

‘I actually think he does not score enough goals with his head. He is good in the air because he has got a good leap and he times it very well,’ said coach Fallaize.

The visitors continued to control proceedings throughout the remainder of the first period, but just moments after the restart Merstham thought they had equalised, with only a last-ditch clearance from Jacob Fallaize preserving Guernsey’s lead.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between for both sides during the majority of the second half, with Guernsey’s full-back duo of Alvarez and Keanu Marsh remaining solid against Merstham dangermen Lorenzo Lewis and Raheem Sterling-Parker.

The Green Lions then came up with what was surely their goal of the season so far in the 81st minute, as Keanu Marsh, Liam Mahon and substitute Sam Murray were all involved in a delightful team move that ended in the path of Will Fazakerley, who beat his man and slotted home to double his side’s advantage.

‘That was a minimum-touch, maximum-output situation. It is something we have been working on – touch the ball less, move it quicker – so that made it quite an enjoyable goal,’ Fallaize said.

The visitors were seemingly home and dry going into additional time and looked set to rise out of the relegation play-off spot and into 13th, but striker Charlie Alexiou gave his side some hope as he drilled his effort beyond Jason Martin into the bottom corner.

Merstham then pressed on for a late equaliser, and their player-manager Adeneyi chested down a long ball into the path of substitute Bryan Zepo, who scored a wonderful volley from the edge of the box that hit the post and went in.

A win for the hosts would have taken them off the foot of the Isthmian South Central table and their wish nearly came true as they went close to scoring a third goal in as many minutes in extra time, but the Guernsey FC backline were able to deal with a last gasp set-piece to take home a point.

Up next for Tony Vance’s GFC is a visit from mid-table Uxbridge on Sunday afternoon, and a win for the Green Lions would see them leap above their opponents in the league table and could take them as high as 11th.

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