Date Posted: 09/01/2018
Guernsey endured another difficult outing on the road, suffering a second successive heavy defeat on Tuesday night.
Sittingbourne had lost seven games in a row before this clash but never looked like matching the Green Lions’ worst ever run of eight straight losses as they eased to a 4-0 victory. GFC are now winless in six and haven't scored in three outings on the mainland.
The Sarnians had picked things up towards the end of the first half and asked a few questions of the Brickies rear wall, and the hosts didn't really have much more in the way of clear-cut chances - they were just clinical with the ones that came their way.
But frustratingly, Tony Vance’s side struggled to get the basics right on several occasions, with simple passes going astray and by the end the hosts were breaching the Guernsey rearguard almost at their leisure. Bournemouth loanee Callum Stanton had to make several stops late on to prevent so successive 5-0 defeats.
The positives the Green Lions can take away are in the shape of the youngsters. Keanu Marsh and Paris Pereira produced lively displays while Charlton Gauvain showed flashes what he can produce on his return from injury.
Floodlight failure delayed kick-off in Kent, and it was a slow start to the game too as neither side did particularly well keeping possession.
However, it didn’t take long for the hosts, who had created a couple of early openings down the right, to edge in front – albeit slightly fortuitously. A corner came in from the right on 12 minutes and Dom Heaume got his head to it first, unfortunately sending it the wrong way and into Stanton’s net.
GFC barely had time to settle back into it before they were two behind. Miles Cornwell was slid in on goal in the right channel and steered the ball out of Stanton’s reach and into the far corner.
Stanton’s reactions prevented it being three inside 20 minutes as he flung himself to his right to block Cornwell’s arrowed effort, but he then missed a left-wing cross, forcing the returning Ben Coulter to eventually halt the resulting goalmouth scramble and clear.
An early corner for Guernsey had threatened to bring the first goal, but their first clear effort came on 26 minutes as Harry Tobin’s pinpoint cross was met first time by Pereira on the far side of the area, with the ball whizzing wide across goal.
The extra light from the fixed floodlights had coincided with the brightening up of the Sarnians’ performance, but they were the architects of their own downfall as they fell three behind on 36 minutes.
A careless pass in midfield presented a counter down the right. Kisitu’s low cross found Kane Rowland at the far post, who buried with aplomb.
Craig Young’s 30-yard free-kick narrowly cleared Brooks’ crossbar, while a similar effort from Le Prevost bounced just in front of the Brickies keeper, who held to thwart Guernsey’s efforts as they started fighting back towards the end of the half.
They showed glimpses of that form early in the second period too, with Dom Heaume’s flick on from Young’s searching free-kick drifting wide and Charlton Gauvain keeping Brooks’ hands warm from distance.
But any hope of a heroic comeback was quickly snuffed out just six minutes in as the Guernsey defence switched off. They thought Bola Dawodu was offside but the Sittingbourne man left the ball and Rowland snuck in to dink it past Stanton from close range.
The Brickies were playing with a real spring in their step now. Stanton had to be at his best to prevent a fifth, first making an excellent double save from Dawodu then David Smith after Rowland had burst into the right channel and cut the ball across goal, then denying Smith one-on-one after he had waltzed through a high Green Lions backline with ease. Before all that, he had taken a Tyrone Guthrie shot into his midriff.
Guernsey thought they had a consolation with just over 10 minutes to go as Keanu Marsh drove forward and played in Pereira, who duly tucked the ball under Brooks and into the net but the offside flag was raised to deny the youngster his third of the season.
Ben Davisson skewed high and wide and Dawodu dragged wide to spare Simon Geall’s blushes after a loose header, and Stanton denied Rowland his hat-trick when the striker had run through unopposed. The Brickies man got through again but pulled his shot wide with literally the last kick of the game.
The final whistle left Guernsey in 20th place in Bostik South and now need to dust themselves down in time for the visit of title challengers Cray Wanderers to Footes Lane on Saturday.
Sittingbourne: Harry Brooks, Salvyn Kisitu, Chris Elliott, Dan Parkingson (Tyrone Guthrie 64’), Chris Webber, John Coker ©, Bola Dawodu, Ben Davisson, Kane Rowland, Miles Cornwell, Rhys Bartlett (David Smith 63’). Not used: - Lex Allan, Jide Okimeji, Jordan Carey.
Goals: Heaume (OG) 13’; Cornwell 17’; Rowland 36’, 51’. Booked: Guthrie.
Guernsey: Callum Stanton, Keanu Marsh, Jamie Dodd, Alex Le Prevost, Harry Tobin (Simon Geall 64’), Frank Tobin, Paris Pereira, Ben Coulter (Angus Mackay 63’), Craig Young ©, Charlton Gauvain, Dominic Heaume. Not used: Jordan Kelly, Thomas Dodds.
Booked: Geall, Stanton.
Highlights will soon be uploaded to GFCTV, while the full 90-minute playback is already available to subscribers and will be until the start of the next live broadcast.