Late Leatherhead winner is ‘cruel’ on young GFC group
GUERNSEY FC were beaten narrowly on the road on Saturday afternoon as a late Leatherhead winner meant a resilient defensive display from Tony Vance’s men went unrewarded.
The Green Lions, who would have moved out of the relegation zone had they avoided defeat, managed to keep Isthmian South Central’s third-placed side at bay for over 80 minutes before defender Ollie King slotted into the bottom corner from close range to give the hosts all three points.
‘We’ve improved a lot over the last eight games – it was a very young group that travelled once again and they did everything we asked of them,’ said Vance.
‘It was all about shape and focus, and they all understood that.
‘We executed the plan fantastically for 83 minutes and deserved to get something – it was a cruel way to not get a point.
‘They were predictable – we worked out how they would play and shut them out for the majority of the game.
‘They were always knocking on the door but it was always closed apart from a tiny little crack late on which they managed to get through.’
Leatherhead dominated the ball in the first period and had more opportunities than the Green Lions, but neither side managed to fashion anything clear-cut as the game remained goalless at the halfway stage.
Keene Domaille nearly broke the deadlock 10 minutes after the restart as his long range effort went just over the bar, while Owen Wallbridge was denied by a last-ditch block from Leatherhead’s Tyler Cox.
GFC continued to hold firm at the back during the second half, although they were saved by the woodwork on the 80 minute mark as substitute Trey Masikini rattled the post.
Vance’s men could not hold off for much longer, though, as a free-kick from the hosts ended up in the path of King, who placed his right-footed effort beyond Addison to make it 1-0.
The centre-back’s strike was enough for Leatherhead to take the points on the day, although they did have to survive a late scare as Jack Griffin’s 98th minute header was saved before Josh Addison came sliding in and nearly bundled home.
‘All in all it was a good performance, and I think overall we have done well while being on this run of playing all the top teams in the league,’ said Vance
‘We’ve gone toe-to-toe with quality sides and have not looked out of place.
‘We have made a conscious effort to go with the youngsters this season and build for the future, because we will see the fruits of that in a couple years, but we know that this year is about surviving.
‘We should have picked up more points, but with the way the players are improving I am sure that we’re going to nick some results.
‘The likes of Ben Solway are doing very well and it’s good that these youngsters are getting to experience this side of the game.
‘In the Priaulx you do not get the same feeling of every game being vital with there being no relegation, so it’s great to give them the opportunity.’
Up next for the Green Lions is a home game on Saturday against Raynes Park Vale, who currently sit second in the Isthmian League, before the fixture list finally gets easier as they play Northwood and struggling Binfield prior to Christmas.