Who will join Northerners and Rovers in the semis?

TWO semi-final spots are still up for grabs in the Stranger Cup in this weekend’s final round of group fixtures.

Jake Lowe plays on despite being floored last weekend against North. Saints need a reaction to that defeat when they face Sylvans on Sunday with a place in the Stranger Cup semi-finals at stake. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31680285)
Jake Lowe plays on despite being floored last weekend against North. Saints need a reaction to that defeat when they face Sylvans on Sunday with a place in the Stranger Cup semi-finals at stake. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31680285)

Sylvans, St Martin’s, Vale Rec and Guernsey U18s all have the opportunity to join Rovers and North in the last four of the competition.

Mike Garnett’s Sylvans side currently occupy second position in their group, leading Saints on goal difference, while Rec meet the GFA development side in a crunch tie this evening.

Mark Romeril’s team and the U18s are currently level on three points after two games, as they both saw off Rangers and lost to Rovers, although it is the Corbet Field outfit currently holding the advantage due to their superior goal difference.

‘We are looking forward to it – it’s great getting games played in this weather and we need to go and get the win,’ said Mark Romeril.

‘We have always said that our plan for this competition is to qualify, we know that a draw would be sufficient but we are going in with the attitude that it has to be a victory.

‘The GFA team are a bit of an unknown to us – they have not had the most convincing results, however I would imagine that we will see the best version of them and I expect them to give us a very good game.

‘We are taking this competition extremely seriously, but at the same time we have players that need to get up to speed, so it is definitely quite a fine line.

‘The good thing for us now, though, is that we have a big squad with a lot of quality so when we change things around we are not really weakening the side at all.

‘We will keep striving to have as much squad depth as possible.’

Rec will also be boosted by the return of Seb Skillen this evening, as he makes his comeback from an injury setback.

‘Seb’s a very good player and we are definitely a better team when he plays, you just have to look at the results to see a drop off after his injury.

‘It will be great to give him some minutes.’

Angus Mackay’s Guernsey U18 team responded from their opening game defeat to Rovers with a 5-4 victory over Rangers last Friday and will be requiring all three points tonight to keep their hopes of back-to-back Stranger Cup glory alive.

St Martin’s are also in need of a win this weekend, as their 4-0 defeat to North last Saturday meant that Sylvans leapfrogged them in the table.

‘Sunday’s game is an extremely important one for us, especially after that result against North last week,’ said Saints coach Jason Leaman ahead of the clash.

‘We are prepared for an interesting and challenging game, and we want to be going through to the next round.

‘The result from last week is done and gone now, and we are fully focused on playing against Sylvans now.

‘We will get back to playing the football we have been playing, and hopefully we will see a good reaction from the guys.’

A point from Sunday’s tie would be enough for to see Sylvans into the last four for a second year running, after they came from behind to edge out Chris Le Friec’s Belgrave Wanderers in their most recent tie.

Rovers and North both need at least a draw to guarantee top spot in their respective Stranger Cup groups, with Jose Alvarez’s men playing Bels on Sunday lunchtime, and Kevin Gillease’s side facing Rangers tomorrow teatime.

FIXTURES

(all at the KGV)

Today – Vale Rec v Island U18s, 7.45pm.

Tomorrow – Rovers v Rangers, 5pm.

Sunday – Northerners v Bels, 12.45pm; Sylvans v St Martin’s, 3pm.

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