Guernsey Press

North U16s win John Leatt Trophy to complete the treble

NORTHERNERS under-16s put the smile back on Guernsey football faces on Saturday with a stunning inter-island success.

Phoenix Mahy, right, celebrates his opening goal with his teammates. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33267057)

Beforehand their coaches were confident that they had the firepower at their disposal to convert their domestic double into a treble by winning the John Leatt Trophy U16 Upton on home soil, but even the trio of Darren Cooley and Jason and Cayden Tardif were left virtually shell-shocked at the comprehensive nature of this brilliant 5-0 win over a very good St Paul’s side.

It was a victory built on rock solid defence, with captain Sam Cooley showing all the experience he has gained at senior level this season by expertly organising his troops, and finished off by the sort of clinical finishing any side would dream of in such a big game.

While there was an element of luck about Phoenix Mahy’s opener, as his deep cross found the net via the far post, the following four goals were taken with a level of composure that belied the age of those who both created and scored them, with Tyrese Kelly netting a brace and Charlie Van Katwyk grabbing the crucial third before Mahy applied the coup de grace with a thumping, almost dismissive, 25-yard volley.

But the whole North squad deserve the plaudits for the way they overcame their understandable early tension to grow in stature and deliver such an outstanding example of game management once they got their noses in front.

St Paul’s, as is so often the case with Jersey sides in inter-island matches, got on the front foot in the early stages and even had the ball in the net through Stanley Dunne in the fifth minute, but the offside flag had already been raised.

Ewan Brodie was also looking dangerous out on the left for Martin Cassidy’s side, but North stood firm during those initial 10 minutes and then showed the threat they posed when the impressive Harry Johns started a move that also involved Van Katwyk before Kelly fired across the face of goal.

The breakthrough came on 23min. when Mahy used his strength to win the ball from Seb Mourant’s diagonal pass out on the right and then deliver a high hanging cross that had Afonso Viera back-pedalling, but the goalkeeper was unable to reach the ball as it hit the inside of the far post and rebounded into the net.

Cooley made an important block as St Paul’s looked for an immediate response and Seb Jennings showed good handling to grasp Tomas Goncalves’ well-struck shot from long-range, but with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, North doubled their lead.

Mahy’s lobbed pass put Kelly through on goal, but he was pulled back as he went to shoot and from the resultant penalty kick he slotted home with aplomb.

Goncalves looped a header onto the crossbar before the interval and he would also hit the woodwork in the second half, but it was already becoming a frustrating afternoon for the visitors as they went in for half-time.

After the turnaround, North set their stall out to take any sting out of the game and did so to great effect before hitting the opposition on the break with a slick counter-attack that resulted in the vital third goal, sublimely finished by Van Katwyk after he was slipped in by Kelly, who had used his electric pace to latch onto Johns’ long ball.

In the 77th minute Kelly rifled a fourth into the top corner, with St Paul’s appeals for offside leading to Sonny Cassidy getting sent to the sin-bin, and then Mahy put the icing on the cake as he lashed home the glorious fifth.