Rec quickly out of the blocks to knock out holders Rovers
THE Priaulx champions suffered a rude awakening on the opening night of the local football season, conceding a goal after 60 seconds and eventually losing 3-2 to Vale Rec.
Marlon Jardim burst through the Rovers back line, drew debutant goalkeeper Reece Le Brun and finished clinically to give his side the early lead, and Jardim was a constant threat on the break, hitting the post later in the half and missing another good chance.
It was a similar break which put Vale Rec two goals to the good on 18min.
Sam Le Huray, playing in a more advanced role on the evening, broke through and although Le Brun repelled his first effort, the ball bounced kindly for Le Huray to bundle into the net.
Rovers were allowed plenty of possession on the halfway line as Rec sat back in formation, but they lacked the guile to break down a hardworking unit, Luke Gaudion excelling in the heart of the midfield with his work rate.
However, the blues started to force a few chances and it was something of a surprise when Rec went three goals up just after the hour.
James Hudson set Jardim away and his strength was too much for Niall Hainsworth. Adam Bullock had half come to claim the through ball and was left stranded as Jardim found Jacob Masterton-Pipet and though two defenders got a deflection on his shot, it found its way into the bottom corner.
Rovers had consistently over-hit free kicks and corners for most of the night but when Charlie Platt finally got one right, Ben Le Tocq headed home from close range.
And a dramatic last 10 minutes was set up when Christian Povall, hugely impressive on the evening, clattered into Martin Savident as they chased a bouncing through ball.
Referee Ben Boardman, new to Guernsey, who had a very confident and competent evening, had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and Le Tocq fired home, but despite late pressure, Rec finished the job.
‘Obviously we’d have liked to have gone through, but we weren’t quite at the races tonight. We made it hard for ourselves, too many mistakes, but we got stronger as the game went on,’ said Rovers coach Kevin Gillease.
His club has a proud record in the Rawlinson in recent years.
‘We’ve had our luck in the competition before and we didn’t have it tonight,’ he said.
Mark Romeril was delighted with the way his team set up and went about their job.
‘We played some good stuff, especially first half. We expected them to come back, and we were holding on a little bit, we were missing a few so it was difficult to strengthen from the bench.’
Added to the Rec injury list by the end of the evening were Joe Blackham, who tore a hamstring again with his first run of the evening, and Sammy Goddard, who limped off early in the second half.
Rec were tactically good on the day, and Romeril said it was a trait of his side that they often performed better against the better teams in the league.
‘It’s something we’ve been working on pre-season, how to improve against the teams in the bottom half.’
Romeril also highlighted the contribution of Jardim, who will look to bounce back after a mediocre season in 2022-23.
‘Marlon’s been off it the last two or three seasons really, we said we needed him this season and he’s been smashing it at training, worked really hard, looked really good. If we can get back the Marlon of old, he’s a player.’