Date Posted: 04/08/2018
The Mike Thomas Memorial Trophy eludes Guernsey for another season as two late headers saw Bostik Premier Division side Worthing take the spoils in the pair's pre-season friendly on Saturday.
The Footes Lane crowd were treated to the return of Callum Stanton, who got a warm welcome after it was confirmed in the morning that he was signing for another season. He made two particularly excellent saves either side of half-time, while Rovers attacking duo Will Fazakerley and Carlos Canha caught the eye in their first appearances for GFC.
The latter showed some neat touches when he came on, while the former demonstrated that if he commits, he could be the tall and physical presence up front that has perhaps been missing in the last year or so. His ability to hang in the air to win flick-ons or chest the ball down could be a real asset.
The Rebels just about deserved to take the trophy back to the mainland as they had the majority of possession and chances, but for much of the game there was not a clear gap between the teams in terms of league standing - especially considering they'd already played seven pre-season friendlies and therefore should have been far sharper than the Sarnians, who were playing their first.
Ross Edwards arrowed a foot high and wide of Stanton's goal within five minutes, while Fazakerley almost made an instant impact and he closed down Worthing goalkeeper Lucas Cavalon's clearance but the ball bounced just wide.
Callum Kealy was looking lively for the visitors, and he brought a routine save out of Stanton and saw a shot deflected wide on the turn. Those came shortly after a Guernsey corner was pulled back to Tom De La Mare, who saw his shot deflected behind.
Jesse Starkey was off target for Worthing a couple of times, while Kealy brought out Stanton's best save of the day as the ball was slipped through to him on the counter attacking. He hit it hard and high at goal but Stanton flung himself to his left to fingertip it just over.
Fazakerley came close again after good persistence from Paris Pereira saw the ball bounce on the edge of the area. Fazakerley good there ahead of Cavalon and met it with his head but the ball flew a foot or so wide.
Kealy, Sam Rents and David Auiboye all came close before the break but the teams went in at the interval all square. But 10 minutes into the second half, the Rebels were at it again as Jasper Patterden's right-wing cross was headed down from the far byline to Starkey, who smashed the ball towards goal only for Stanton to tip it wide.
Kyle Smith entered the fray just before the hour and was involved straight away as he set up Charlton Gauvain for a shot on the edge of the area. But the teenager was leaning back as he struck it and it whistled over.
Fazakerley then came the closest anyone had been so far after substitute Carlos Canha did enough to put him through on goal. The keeper got the slightest of touches to the shot to deflect in onto the post, with Fazakerley only able to find the side nettings from the acute rebound.
Pattersden was guilty of missing a sitter of a header at the far post, moments before Pereira burst forward and fired straight at Cavalon with a rising drive as the game started to stretch.
The deadlock was finally broken on 77 minutes was Rhyle Ovenden's high cross from the right corner of the penalty area and a bullet header at the far post Jared Rance, who had been menacing all game, was too powerful for Stanton to keep out despite getting a touch.
Four minutes later, in the last meaningful action of the game, it was two as Auiboye got his head to a corner to make the result safe.
Congratulations to Worthing, who are the fourth winners of the Mike Thomas Memorial Trophy.
Guernsey: Callum Stanton (Jordan Kelly), Simon Geall, Jamie Dodd (c), Thomas Dodds, Tom De La Mare, Liam Mahon (Kyle Smith), Dave Rihoy, Charlton Gauvain (Carlos Canha), Craig Young (Keanu Marsh), Paris Pereira, WillFazakerley.
Worthing: Lucas Cavalon, Joe Colbran, Sam Rents (c), Danny Barker, Alfie Young, David Auiboye, Ross Edwards, Calum Kealy, Jesse Starkey, Adran Racine. Subs used: Darren Budd, Jasper Patterden, Ricky Aguiar, Rhyle Ovenden, Will Miles.
Goals: Rance 77'; Auiboye 81'.
Highlights will be uploaded to GFCTV over the weekend.