Date Posted: 06/10/2019
Guernsey kept up the momentum built up away from home with an accomplished performance in front of their own fans to see off VCD Athletic in their first home game of the season.
Jamie Dodd’s first-half headed opener was added to by two counter-attack goals after the break from Liam Mahon and Will Fazakerley either side of a Charlie MacDonald penalty.
The penalty to halve the deficit may have undone the defence in the past, but they remained resilient to the end, when the game got fiery and two dismissals saw it finish 10 against 10.
The Green Lions played with purpose going forward, setting their radar early on with efforts from Liam Mahon and Harry Tobin from outside the area that were both off target.
Callum Stanton was stood up to the challenge when called upon in the first half, standing his ground to block with his legs as Oriondo Ogboe beat the offside trap on the quarter-hour, then blocking from Ogboe and Alexander Gaggin near the end of the half.
Ross Allen didn’t get on the scoresheet on this occasion but his link-up play throughout the game was excellent. He was denied thrice in the first half, one from a last-ditch block by Jack Steventon, who had recovered well from misjudging a high ball, by VCD stopper Tony Coxall, who blocked from the number 10 with his legs after Carlos Canha did well to tee him up, then again by Coxall as he got down to parry a free-kick towards the bottom corner, with Tom Strawbridge heading over the resulting delivery.
A good move down the right nearly saw Fazakerley net inside 20 minutes as Liam Mahon ran onto a ball down the line by Frank Tobin and picked him out at the near post, but the number nine could only fire wide off balance.
Steventon headed a corner wide midway through the half a minute before Fazakerley cut inside and saw his low deflected shot fielded by Coxall.
Stanton collected comfortably from Ayman El-Mogharbel after the visiting forward robbed Kieran Mahon of possession, and it seemed that with all the chances, a goal was on its way.
Luckily, it fell to the hosts just after the half-hour, specifically their captain as he got free at a corner to Liam Mahon’s delivery over Coxall and into the far corner with his head to reach double figures for the club on his 299th appearance.
Fazakerley headed wide at the far post from another Liam Mahon set-piece five minutes later, and Steventon fired over at the other end just after Stanton had made his near-post save from Ogboe.
The visitors ended the half the stronger, with a shot from Ogboe looping over off a defender and another block required to deny Temi Eweka in stoppage time.
Rather than sit on their half-time lead, the Sarnians sought a second after the break and game within a whisker on 57 minutes as Allen collected his initial blocked cross and teed up Canha, but the Madeiran’s rising shot bounced off the upright.
That wasn’t to matter, though, as Guernsey doubled their lead three minutes later on the counter attack. It all came from Dodd’s outstanding block at the other end to stop a goalbound shot. The hosts broke away two on one and Fazakerley collected Allen’s fick-on before poking the ball into the path of Liam Mahon, who drove forward and lifted the ball over the advancing Coxall from the edge of the area – a lovely finish.
The Green Lions were in the mood now, and Canha fired over after being teed up again by Allen, who had won the ball back for his team.
Stanton was alert to push the ball over as George Monger’s free-kick was headed for the top corner, with a similar effort from substitute Charlton Gauvain flying over at the other end.
Acting as chief creator, Allen laid the ball into Fazakerley after winning the ball back high up the pitch, but the shot lacked power and Coxall saved.
Allen was denied by Coxall at the near post after Gauvain had evaded a crunching challenge on the right and crossed, while VCD reminded their hosts they were still a threat as Dominic Odusanya dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area.
A minute later, VCD got their break to give them a sniff of a result. Courtney Barrington went to ground under pressure from Frank Tobin and the referee pointed to the spot. MacDonald coolly found the bottom right corner to set up a tense finish.
Raphe Brown’s low centre just evaded MacDonald and crept just wide moments later, and the game descended into controversy as it ticked into stoppage time, with Liam Mahon grabbed by the neck and dragged thrown to the ground by Alastair Gordon as he tried to prevent a quick free-kick, sparking a mass brawl. The offence, and the younger Mahon brother’s reaction to it, saw them both given their marching orders as tempers boiled over.
The icing was put on the cake five minutes into added time with Fazakerley starting and finishing the move. He headed away the resulting free-kick from the earlier skirmish and then bust a gut to get forward, running onto Allen’s pass with just enough pace to evade the cashing defenders. He slipped as the struck his shot but got just enough on the ball to poke it past Coxall and it crept into the bottom corner to spark a mass team celebration and end the visitors’ hopes and secure the Green Lions’ first home win since last November. Fazakerley has now already beaten his total for the whole of last season.
The win saw the Green Lions leapfrog their opponents into the play-offs. The weekend’s other results were as follows: Ashford United 1-2 Cray Valley PM; Faversham Town 2-1 Whitehawk, Hastings United 3-1 Sevenoaks Town, Hythe Town 2-0 Haywards Heath Town, Phoenix Sports 3-2 Burgess Hill Town, Ramsgate 2-0 East Grinstead Town, Whitstable Town 2-0 Three Bridges.
Guernsey: Callum Stanton, Frank Tobin, Jamie Dodd (c), Thomas Dodds (Tom De La Mare 62’), Tom Strawbridge, Harry Tobin, Liam Mahon, Kieran Mahon, Will Fazakerley, Ross Allen, Carlos Canha (Charlton Gauvain 64’). Not used: Keanu Marsh, Alex Scott, Seb Skillen.
Goals: Dodd 32’; L Mahon 57’; Fazakerley 90+5’. Booked: Dodd, K Mahon, Fazaerley. Sent off: L Mahon.
VCD Athletic: Tony Coxall, Temi Eweka, Raphe Brown, George Monger, Ryan Mahal (Bradley Simms 73’), Jack Steventon, Alexander Gaggin, Alastair Gordon, Ayman El-Mogharbel (Dominic Odusanya 73’), Charlie MacDonald (c), Ororiode Ogboe (Courtney Barrington 72’). Not used: Henry Ikeije, Dominic Vincent-Edwards.
Goal: MacDonald (pen) 82’. Booked: Monger, Steventon. Sent off: Gordon.
Highlights will be uploaded to GFCTV soon, while the full 90-minute playback is already available to subscribers.