𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘺’𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘭𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘸.
So that’s another game of commentating for Guernsey FC under my belt and once again I had a blast. However on this occasion, it was not a night to remember for GFC, as an exceptional Marlow side ran riot and put six past Jordan Kelly with no reply from Vance’s men. The performance was one of grit and determination, but the level of quality in this league was made clear on the night, with Marlow striking again, and again, and again without reply, as they claimed a rather convincing 6-0 win. Kameron English on the wing for the hosts was simply too much for the GFC backline to handle as he twisted and turned his way past the defence all evening and eventually secured a well deserved hattrick, while at the back Marlow were as solid as a rock, with Ben Acey having the only real clear cut chance of the game for Guernsey following a mazy run. It was a frustrating night all round, and not just because my train was cancelled and I couldn’t get back into Winchester until two in the morning, but because it meant we couldn’t put an end to our streak of six games without victory, we couldn’t claim a first away win of the season, and because it was made brutally obvious that this was not a league to be messed around with one bit. Another defeat at the weekend hasn’t helped matters either, taking our streak of games without victory up to eight, leaving us 18th in the Isthmian South Central Division Table and in the relegation zone, albeit with multiple games in hand on the teams above us and still without the same level of match sharpness as other sides due to our late start to the season.
As much as we are getting closer to catching up to the rest of the league in terms of games played, the intensity of the division and the task in catching up to it is quite clearly taking a toll on the players. This is a squad with an abundance of quality. Ross Allen is still easily one of the best players and best goalscorers in this division, Kyle Smith and Ben Le Tocq have made the transition from the Priaulx to Non-League seamlessly, Ben Acey is one of the best young players in the league and players like Tom Dodds, the Mahons, Jamie Dodd, Tom Strawbridge and others are still at the same high level that they have been for years. However, the time out over the past few years has clearly had a massive impact. It’s no coincidence that we’ve dropped 10 points from winning positions in 11 games - its not easy readjusting to the league after such a long period due to the pandemic, especially for 90 minutes. Particularly when it’s a league that we know virtually nothing about. My first two games on commentary were at grounds where the club had never visited before, not only for Olly Tracey who has a whole new setup to figure out to run GFCTV, but also for the players, playing against teams they might not have even heard of coming into the season, let alone analysed and studied. None of this is taking away from the quality of the teams in this league however. Marlow were a truly superb side who could quite easily come to Footes Lane later in the season and do the exact same thing to us even after we know what they’re all about.
There are positive signs though, and as much as that stat of dropping 10 points in games that we’ve led so far this campaign will be infuriating for Tony Vance and his coaching team to look at, it does prove that we are more than ready to compete in this league, especially when we delve deeper into the results from these select fixtures. Westfield scored a 93rd minute equali zer from a penalty. Thatcham equalized with just 17 minutes to go. We led twice against Ashford at the weekend before conceding for a 3rd time in the 86th minute. We led against Tooting and Mitcham United until the 83rd minute and by the 85th minute we were 2-1 down. All these results prove that we are more than able to dominate games against teams in this division and that it is only momentary lapses of concentration in the dying embers that is costing us crucial wins. At Footes Lane we have led every game bar two - against Bracknell Town, who are running away with the division and have won 13 of their 15 games this season, and in the slender and rather unlucky 1-0 loss against a Chertsey Town side who I witnessed first hand destroy 2nd place Basingstoke Town 5-1 at Basingstoke’s own ground just days prior to their visit to the island. It is certainly not all doom and gloom, and as we continue getting up to speed I am certain that we can start to get these wins that are proving so tough to come by at the minute, especially with the quality and unity that is present in the current squad.
On a personal note, I unfortunately won’t get the opportunity to return to the commentary booth at least until the start of the new year as all that remains in 2021 is two home fixtures against Staines Town and Binfield, and the four away fixtures at the start of 2021 may coincide with me being back on the island for the Christmas period. However I think for now all I can do is reflect on the fantastic opportunities I have had to go to Uxbridge and Marlow to deliver commentary for GFCTV. My experience with Guernsey FC as a fan has always been superb and the transition to commentator has been exactly the same. Nic and Olly have welcomed me into the creative team with open arms and it is truly a blast getting to watch the Green Lions play on the road and travel to all these grounds that are new not only for me but for everyone involved with Guernsey FC. I am already looking ahead to 2022 and hopefully being invited back to do more work with the club behind the microphone.
But for now, all I can say is Merry Christmas Green Lions fans and good luck to Vancey and the boys for the two crucial games at the Lane coming up next.
Come on GFC!