GFC make good point at start of tough run
Guernsey FC put in an impressive defensive display on Saturday afternoon to earn a point away at second-placed Southall and boost their confidence at the start of a tough run of fixtures.
The Green Lions’ opponents are the top scorers in Isthmian South Central this season and came into the clash off the back of five straight wins, but a first GFC goal for Owen Wallbridge meant Tony Vance’s men left Buckinghamshire with a 1-1 draw.
‘I thought all of the 12 players who travelled today were excellent – the attitude was first class, which is exactly what we want,’ said the GFC manager.
‘We have had a few of those games already this season where we have to dig in and Southall were a very good side, but we were very disciplined, very focused and everybody stuck to the game plan.
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‘At half-time we said that they had not really troubled us and felt we always had a chance of scoring – Owen was giving their right-back a torrid time and sure enough that’s where our goal came from,’ added Vance.
The home side were dominant in possession throughout the affair but were failing to trouble Josh Addison in the first period, while Charlton Gauvain went close with an audacious free kick effort at the other end.
It was Southall who took the lead, though, as midfielder Obed Kwabena’s shot from distance bounced awkwardly in front of the GFC keeper, who could not stop the strike from finding the bottom corner.
Southall had a chance to double their advantage before the break, with the league’s top scorer Jaden Thompson-Brissett having a go from similar range to the goal, although this time Addison was equal to it and tipped wide of the post.
Guernsey looked bright after the break and always looked like they were in with a shout of getting back in it, but Southall’s strong backline were denying them many clear-cut chances.
The hosts eventually turned out to be victims of their own downfall as a defensive mix-up led to Owen Wallbridge intercepting a short pass back to the goalkeeper and the young attacker made no error in slotting home to level the score.
GFC were on the back foot after scoring with Southall consistently pushing forward for a winner, and Addison made a superb diving save to his left to stop substitute Tariq Khalifa-Salim’s curling effort from distance.
Vance’s men continued to hold firm and Dave Rihoy nearly struck a late winner for the Green Lions, but in the end both teams had to settle for a draw.
The result, which was GFC’s fourth draw in their last five games, does not help the Green Lions move out of the automatic relegation zone, but they are now just a point away from Met Police in 19th.
‘To come to the most in-form side in the league, the top scorers in the league and get something is definitely a moral victory for us and I am so proud of the 12 who came,’ said Vance.
‘We were also without the likes of Jamie Dodd, Matt Loaring and Kieran Mahon – three players who would be in the team any day of the week, and as of yesterday we had 15 players who were meant to be travelling but three dropped out, so we thought we could have been in a bit of trouble.’
GFC are back in action this evening as they travel to Chertsey Town, who are currently fourth in the league table.
The Curfews came away as 4-0 winners in the same fixture last season.
‘We have a tough time coming up and I am realistic – hopefully we can have some players come back in and attack it because it’s going to be very challenging,’ Vance said.
A win for the Green Lions could see them leapfrog Met Police in the table, who host Southall tonight.