Date Posted: 13/09/2017
It was another valiant defensive effort from Guernsey but ultimately another defeat as Whyteleafe’s unrelenting pressure finally told in the second half.
More focus will no doubt be thrown on the consecutive losses, which now equals the club record of six, but those basing their opinions purely on those bare numbers are not seeing the bigger picture.
Manager Tony Vance said as much in his post-match interviews when he claimed he was 'fed up of the armchair pundits' who were happy to kick the Green Lions while they are down when not appreciating what the team are having to fight against at the moment.
This was another tough midweek away trip with an understrength side, with many of those on duty not fully fit to give their absolute best but had to be there out of necessity.
But despite this the Green Lions - decked out in their new purple third strip for the first time - carried out their game plan to frustrate their hosts almost to the letter, especially in the first half when the Sarnians’ efforts on goal were actually closer than their almost table-topping hosts, who were kept quiet, in terms of chances, for long spells. They kept Whyteleafe at bay despite endless long spells of possession for the hosts until they ramped up the pressure with numerous chances in the second half, and it took until the final 20 minutes for Whyteleafe to breach GFC’s tough resistance.
The first chance was indeed for the visitors within five minutes as Kyle Smith dug out a cross from the right by-line while Charlton Gauvain, playing out of his natural position up front, rose to meet in the middle of the area. But his header narrowly evaded the far upright.
It took more than a quarter-of-an-hour for Whyteleafe to even warm the palms of Callum Stanton, as the on-loan ‘keeper got down to tip Tommy Hutchings’ curler wide.
Going back the other way, Dodds came within whiskers of controlling Ryan-Zico Black’s chip in to the area, but the ball skipped off his toes and through to the grateful Matte Pierson. With five minutes left of the half, Gauvain went for an audacious lob from 40 yards that might have dropped just wide but had the ‘Leafe stopper scrambling, forcing him to stretch to touch it wide, just to be sure.
The only scare Guernsey really had before the break came with three minutes to go when a scramble from a free-kick was eventually poked home by a Whyteleafe leg, but it was swiftly flagged offside.
Once again it was the Sarnians who had the earliest sights of goal after the restart. Angus Mackay’s first distance effort – a volley on the bounce – might have threaten to clear the stadium completely, but his second drive from 25 yards five minutes in whistled just a foot or so over the bar.
It was at this point that Whyteleafe finally started to turn the screw and make their possession count. Hutchings dragged a powerful effort wide from range on 52 minutes before Dodds’ timely and strong intervention snuffed out another chance by the forward a minute later.
Sam Clayton came close when he planted a header narrowly over as he met a right-wing cross at the far post and Daniel Ajakaiye curled just over after beating Dodds to a ball over the top.
Callum Stanton was alert to deflect wide from Shawn Clement-Peter, who had benefitted from a bounce, in what had been the Surrey side’s best chance to far, and Andrew Musungu narrowly missed the far corner with a low drive just before the hour.
Another spell of solid defending followed for 10 minutes or so before Whyteleafe finally broke GFC’s resistance.
Le Prevost had already breathed a sigh of relief when he deflected a low cross into the side-netting, and a cross soon after ricocheted off players from both sides, eventually falling for Tommy Hutchings to tuck in a simple finish inside the six-yard box on 73 minutes.
Five minutes later it was two as Ajakaiye just beat Simon Geall to a through ball and tucked the ball under Stanton, who got a touch, from the edge of the area.
Substitutes Jerry Ammo and Ambrose Gnahore both came close to adding a third as their low centres flashed across goal, and Guernsey still kept at it to create two more chances of their own in the dying minutes, albeit both from distance.
Paris Pereira – replacing the injured Sam Cochrane early in the second half – forced Pierson to get down and smother hit shot, while the stopper was alert to hold Le Prevost’s powerful curler from all of 35 yards in the last minute.
Plenty of heart again from the Green Lions and Vance can be proud of the effort his limited resources gave him, but the wait for a second win of the season rolls on to South Park on Saturday.
It was pleasing to see Jason Winch return to the pitch as a late substitute after being out for nearly two years battle serious cruciate knee ligament injuries.
We drop to 21st in the table with the rest of the Tuesday night Bostik South results as follows: Ashford United 1-0 Ramsgate, Faversham Town 1-0 Sittingbourne, Horsham 1-2 Chipstead, Molesey 1-2 Corinthian-Casuals, Shoreham 2-2 Lewes, South Park 2-2 Phoenix Sports, VCD Athletic 1-2 Hythe Town, Walton Casuals 3-0 East Grinstead Town.
Whyteleafe: Matte Pierson, Bradley Simms, Andrew Musungu, Olumide Oluwatimilehin, Jamahl Howlett-Mundle, Terrell Forbes, Lanre Azeez (Jerry Amoo 64'), Shawn Clement-Peter (Scott Day 83'), Daniel Ajakaiye, Tommy Hutchings, Sam Clayton (Ambrose Gnahore 74'). Not used: John Scarborough, Charlie Postance.
Goals: Hutchings 73'; Ajakaiye 78'. Booked: Oluwatimilehin.
Guernsey: Callum Stanton, Simon Geall (c), Harry Tobin, Sam Cochrane (Paris Pereira 48'), Alex Le Prevost, Thomas Dodds, Angus Mackay, Ryan-Zico Black, Charlton Gauvain, Kyle Smith (Zac Felbabel 80'), Keanu Marsh (Jason Winch 83'). Not used: Jordan Kelly.
Booked: Tobin, Black, Marsh.
Highlights will be uploaded to GFCTV later this week, but Premium subscribers can already access the full 90-minute playback.