Guernsey Press

Holders Rec and Island U18s book their Stranger Cup semi-final spots

Vale Rec secured victory at Port Soif on Saturday afternoon to book their spot in the last four of the competition and go a step closer to retaining the trophy.

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Sam Le Huray is congratulated by his Vale Rec teammates on Saturday at Port Soif after his deflected shot opened the scoring. (Picture by Tom Videlo, 32918727)

The visitors scored three times without reply against Rovers, who had already qualified for the next round prior to the fixture, to finish top of Group B with seven points from three games.

‘We went there needing a result and we got the job done,’ said Rec boss Mark Romeril.

‘We always wanted to try and get the win against Rovers because nobody ever sets out to try and draw a game, so full credit to the lads for doing just that.

‘We were not at our best, but we’re all very happy with the result and with how the group stage has gone.’

It took just seven minutes for Rec to break the deadlock on Saturday as a long-range strike from Sam Le Huray took a massive deflection and found the back of the net.

Jacob Masterton-Pipet doubled his side’s advantage midway through the first period with a left-footed effort from outside the box and the visitors maintained their two-goal advantage going into the break.

Substitute Joe Blackham sealed the win for his team in the last few minutes of the game as he nicked the ball from a Rovers defender and went through on goal, coolly slotting beyond Adam Bullock into the bottom corner.

‘We have had to select our teams somewhat differently for the Stranger Cup because it came about at a time where we had to focus on getting the lads back up to speed and giving everyone minutes because of how few games we’ve had recently,’ said Romeril.

‘We said the results would take care of themselves and now we have another semi-final to look forward to.

‘The competition came at a really good time as the levels within the group were not quite where we wanted them due to the lack of football, so playing these games took the pressure off a little bit as we wanted to emphasise the importance of the performance levels rather than just results.

‘We wanted to find some momentum and now we have it, and it is great to top the group.

‘We want to win every competition we’re in.

‘I thought Louis Travis was superb on Saturday, he has been out for a while and we threw him back in and he led the line so well.

‘Damo [Damien Larkin] was also fantastic – he is a brilliant leader and really helps with our organisation.’

Island U18’s Ben Wilson and St Martin’s scorer Nigel Hutton in an aerial battle. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32917606)

Elsewhere in the Stranger Cup at the weekend, the Guernsey U18s confirmed their semi-final qualification as they saw off St Martin’s to finish top of Group A.

Jordan Kelly’s youngsters took the lead on the half hour mark thanks to a strike from Alex Ward against his parent club, but Saints took just six minutes to reply, as Nigel Hutton got his team back on level terms.

The U18s reinstated their lead in the second-half through Zach Gilman, who curled one into the top left corner for his fifth goal in three group stage games.

GFA held on from there to book their place in the semis, where they will play against last year’s finalists Rovers.

Saints were already through to the last four prior to their final group stage game and have set up a last-four tie against Vale Rec.

• St Martin’s host Belgrave Wanderers this evening in the Offshore Commercial Guernsey FA Cup. Kick off is at 7.30pm at Blanche Pierre Lane.