Date Posted: 18/03/2017
Guernsey showed fantastic character to fight back from 2-0 down with 10 men and claim a precious point in the fight against relegation in a feisty encounter with Hythe Town.
The Green Lions were poor in the first half, but Dave Rihoy hauled them back into the contest just before the break, and that turned the tide as Tony Vance’s side went for broke in the second half.
Despite losing Angus Mackay to a second booking, the Sarnians kept up their momentum, getting their rewards thanks to a huge slice of luck for Seb Skillen.
That could not have been predicted after just a quarter of the game gone, though, with GFC two down courtesy of slack defending.
Tom Martin had already seen a volley bobble straight towards Joe Mant in the third minute, but that was a false dawn as GFC were behind two minutes later.
The hosts had survived a penalty shout as Jerald Aboagye had gone down under Martin’s challenge, but it was waved away and the ball was half cleared. But the defence switched off as the ball was recycled and Dean Grant was in acres of space on his own on the edge of the box, enabling him to fire low across goal into the far corner.
Rihoy was presented with a glorious opening to equalise shortly before Guernsey fell two behind, but his touch when controlling Dom Heaume’s flick-on was too heavy and Mant claimed.
Kenny Pogue was unmarked as the ball came into the box on 21 minutes and he had time to control before finding the corner from 10 yards to double Guernsey’s misery.
Rihoy was GFC’s most likely option of getting back into it, and he hit a sweet shot from distance on 38 minutes but it was a comfortable save from Mant getting down low to his left.
But it was third time lucky for the number seven as Heaume flicked on Marsh’s ball into the box, Rihoy controlled and slotted across goal from an acute angle in first-half stoppage time - a great time to score.
It was a huge moment that completely changed the mood of the contest as the Green Lions came out firing after the break when it had looked like they might be dead and buried.
Sam Adam’s free-kick from range clipped the roof of the net soon after the restart, but that was all the Cannons managed until the final 20 minutes of the game.
Guernsey went up the other end from the goal-kick and Rihoy played a lovely one-two with Tom De La Mare on the edge of the box before Mant beat away the latter’s shot with a strong save.
Ryan-Zico Black also skewed well wide with his weaker foot from distance after De La Mare had charged down a Hythe clearance.
The Green Lions’ task was made harder when they were reduced to 10 men just before the hour. Angus Mackay had already been booked in the first half for a retaliation shove on Grant and a late tackle on an advancing forward saw him handed his marching orders. The resulting free-kick from Ben Wilson dipped just over the crossbar.
Vance’s men didn’t let the dismissal turn the tide though, and should have been level when the ball dropped to Sam Cochrane in the box from a corner, but his powerful volley flew wide from point-blank range.
Black’s set-piece deliveries were causing problems in the visiting defence and two free-kicks led to close calls, with Keanu Marsh’s header being deflected just over and Heaume nodding wide at the far post within moments of each other.
Grant then had a couple more opportunities for the visitors but Leroi Riley was equal both times. He comfortably held the first in-swinger and then reacted well to claim the ball from the number 10’s powerful effort despite a deflection on the way through.
Rihoy threatened again as he forced Mant to beat away another powerful strike, but Guernsey were level within a minute.
Substitute Skillen aimed a cross into the box from deep. The Garenne Stand fell silent in disappointment as they though it was miss-hit well out of play, but suddenly erupted with delight when the wind sent it flying past a rooted Mant.
The Green Lions had some defending to do in the final few minutes as Hythe looked to snatch a winner, but Paris Pereira’s distance effort that sailed well over was the last significant action and GFC could be satisfied with their afternoon’s work that was full of character in the second half.
The point took us level on points with Chipstead, with just goal difference keeping us below them. The Green Lions later received a boost by the news that Chatham Town – to Godalming Town – and Three Bridges had both lost.
The full set of Ryman South results were as follows: Carshalton Athletic 5-1 Three Bridges, Chatham Town 0-1 Godalming Town, Corinthian-Casuals 0-1 Hastings United, Cray Wanderers 0-3 South Park, Faversham Town 4-1 Chipstead, Herne Bay 2-0 Molesey, Lewes 4-0 East Grinstead Town, Ramsgate 1-1 Horsham, Sittingbourne 0-1 Dorking Wanderers, Tooting & Mitcham United 2-0 Walton Casuals, Whyteleafe 1-1 Greenwich Borough.
Guernsey: Leroi Riley, Simon Geall ©, Tom Martin, Sam Cochrane, Keanu Marsh (Glyn Dyer 75’), Angus Mackay, Dave Rihoy, Ryan-Zico Black (Paris Pereira 79’), Dom Heaume, Craig Young, Tom De La Mare (Seb Skillen 71’). Not used: Josh Addison.
Goals: Rihoy 45+1’; Skillen 81’. Booked: Mackay, Young. Sent off: Mackay.
Hythe Town: Joe Mant, Jerald Aboagye, Josh Burchell, Mitchell Chapman, Matt Newman, Ben Wilson (Tom Loynes 84’), Dave Cook ©, Sam Adams, Kenny Pogue, Dean Grant, Kieron Campbell. Not used: Owen Price, Nick Reeves, Harry Carr, Sam May.
Goals: Grant 5’; Pogue 21’. Booked: Burchell, Chapman, Adams, Campbell.
Highlights will be uploaded to GFCTV on Saturday evening, while the full 90-minute playback is already available to Premium subscribers.