Date Posted: 17/04/2017
Guernsey's season at Footes Lane is over and they couldn't end it with a win as Dorking Wanderers took the three points which kept their title hopes alive.
The visitors go into their final game three points behind leaders Tooting & Mitcham United, with the pair meeting on the final day of the season next Saturday, and the Green Lions' two consolation goals could have had a real impact on their title chances as it means the Terrors are still nine goals better off. Wanderers will require a 5-0 win to overturn Tooting.
The Sarnians found it tough dealing with the visitors' powerful attack but looked threatening themselves going forward, so to keep going at 4-0 down meant their two strikes were just rewards for their efforts.
Wanderers started strongly and fired a couple of early warning shots. Robb Sheridan hooked wide as the ball dropped down from a corner inside two minutes. Giuseppe Sole also clipped the top of the crossbar with a free-kick after James McShane had been brought down by Sam Cochrane as he dashed forward.
The was a sign of things to come as the away side took the lead just after the 10-minute mark, and it came from another free-kick. Jacob Fallaize had halted future professional Matthew Briggs in his tracks, and the latter smashed a powerful delivery into the area, with Gareth Chendlik got a touch on it to divert it past Leroi Riley.
GFC did improve from then on and their first real chance came just after a quarter of an hour. Ross Allen turned a lovely ball round the corner for Ryan-Zico Black. He got to the byline and returned the favour for his team-mate with a pullback, which the number 10 curled just wide from just inside the area.
Craig Young and McShane traded similar efforts that bounced wide within a minute of each other, but Dorking doubled their lead just before the midway point in the half.
It has to go down as a goalkeeping error as Briggs charged down the right and fired in a low powerful cross. It was intended to either be turned in by a team-mate, or for a forward to capitalise on any rebound, but Riley let the ball slip through his hands and it nestled in the far corner.
Tony Vance's side were still causing problems going forward though, and Allen did brilliantly to beat his man and cut the ball back from the byline for Young. But the number 11 took too long to tee himself up instead of hitting it first time and didn't get enough power in his eventual show, which Slavomir Huk held at head height.
The pair combined again 12 minutes later, but this time Young scuffed his shot wide from outside the area.
Riley made two strong saves towards the end of the half, first holding Sole's bobbling effort from range and then denying Chendlik's powerful hit across goal after Guernsey had given the ball away far too cheaply.
Dom Heaume wasted a glorious opportunity to pull GFC back into the game in stoppage time as he won the ball back to the right wing and the Green Lions attacked two on two. He cut inside and, rather than opting to tee up Rihoy or Allen, went for goal. His shot was blocked and he miss-controlled the rebound, and the ball was skewed wide.
Heaume actually could have netted either side of the break as GFC came flying out in the second half. The ball found him at the far post after good work from half-time substitute Paris Pereira, but after bringing the ball down, he could not generate the power to force it in and his effort was blocked at close range.
McShane skewed a an effort well wide from the edge of the area and a minute later Riley dived brilliantly to parry Sole's free-kick wide.
But that merely delayed the third by a few more minutes, and it was an entirely avoidable goal in the 55th minute. Jerome Beckles crossed from the left and Sam Cochrane and Simon Geall got in a mix-up with Riley. The confusion in communication meant none of them actually took the initiative to claim or clear the ball and McShane nipped in first. His initial effort hit the bar but it rebounded back to him to roll it in from two yards out.
GFC kept pressing for a consolation and created several good openings in the final half hour or so. Dave Rihoy's volley flew wide from the edge of the area after Pereira and won the ball back and Allen teed up half-time replacement Matt Loaring to put in a high cross.
However, their task looked even more daunting as Dorking went on the counter and Sole found McShane, who then tucked a pass through for Briggs to slot under Riley for four.
Two minutes later, though, the Green Lions had brought the gap back down to three. Loaring's corner was high towards the far post and Cochrane rose highest to meet it, hanging in the air just long enough to plant a powerful header into the corner.
Briggs wasted three more good openings down Dorking's right, missing the target each time, while Young slipped at the other end as he shaped to shoot from the edge with his left foot and shanked it wide.
Loaring almost turned provider from a corner yet again as Allen rose to meet the cross at the near post, but headed narrowly wide.
Heaume had a similar effort after Thomas Dodds had found substitute Robbie Legg down the right. The teenager beat his man and sent in an excellent delivery towards the near post. Heaume got across to beat Huk to the ball and meet it with his head, but the ball flew wide.
Dorking's final two chances game in the remaining five minutes, with Beckles' speculative effort from range drifting well wide and McShane's flicked on header from a cross looping over the top.
Guernsey kept up their efforts but got lucky with a penalty decision in the 92nd minute when Rihoy hit a powerful volley that struck the arm of a defender, who was just a couple of yards away and could not have moved out of the way. Allen stepped up to tuck the spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner.
The result means Guernsey remain 21st in a table where there is still plenty of excitement to come at the top end. They will have one ore opportunity at Greenwich Borough on Saturday to move up a place.
The rest of the Ryman South results were as follows: Chipstead 1-2 Whyteleafe, Cray Wanderers 0-0 Greenwich Borough, East Grinstead Town 1-2 Three Bridges, Godalming Town 1-2 Horsham, Herne Bay 2-2 Ramsgate, Hythe Town 6-1 Chatham Town, Lewes 4-4 Hastings United, Molesey 1-3 South Park, Sittingbourne 2-1 Faversham Town, Tooting & Mitcham United 1-0 Carshalton Athletic, Walton Casuals 0-3 Corinthian-Casuals.
Guernsey: Leroi Riley, Simon Geall (c), Tom De La Mare, Sam Cochrane (Robbie Legg 66'), Jacob Fallaize (Matt Loaring H-T), Thomas Dodds, Dave Rihoy, Ryan-Zico Black (Paris Pereira H-T), Dom Heaume, Ross Allen, Craig Young. Not used: Seb Skillen, Charlton Gauvain.
Goals: Cochrane 64'; Allen (pen) 90+3'. Booked: Cochrane, Fallaize, Dodds, Black.
Dorking Wanderers: Slavomir Huk, Robb Sheridan, Chris Boulter (c), Dean Hamlin (Thomas Summerfield 57'), Ben Dyett, Jake Beecroft, Jerome Beckles, Matt Briggs (Daniel Pearse 75'), Giuseppe Sole, Gareth Chendlik (Sam Beard H-T), James McShane. Not used: Daniel Mahony, William Hearn.
Goals: Chendlik 11; Briggs 21', 62'; McShane 55'. Booked: Dyett, Beckles, Briggs.
Highlights will be uploaded to GFCTV on Monday evening, and Premium subscribers can already access the full 90-minute playback.