GUERNSEY 1 (Allen 30’)
CORINTHIAN-CASUALS 1 (Murtra-Eribuwa 83’)
Guernsey aren’t learning their lesson.
For the second home game in a row, the Green Lions squandered two points against a side they needed to be beating, again leading until late on against a relegation-battle rival but not capitalising on chances to seal it and were forced to settle for a draw in the closing moments - two points in a relegation battle from games they should have come away from with six.
Corinthian-Casuals showed very little goal threat over the 90 and should have been kept at arm’s length, but instead the Sarnians will spend another week in the relegation zone, despite the experience in their ranks on Saturday afternoon.
The U21 Muratti on Sunday meant the absence of youngsters Jack Griffin, Seb Vance, Brandon Wallace, Owen Wallbridge and Keene Domaille, but there was more than enough quality coming in with the long-awaited return of Ross Allen, a recall for Ryan-Zico Black and a return for Matt Loaring after illness.
GFC were much improved from an attacking point of view in the second half but didn’t make it count. In the first half it was underwhelming – even Allen’s goal on the half-hour was not of his own side’s making in a flat first half, attacking wise. The defence were comfortable in possession and happy to knock it about – and Casuals were happy to let them – but much of the passing and first touches were sloppy and allowed the visitors to recover.
This occasionally crept into the back line too, and the away side’s chances were presented to them more often than not.
In the eighth minute, Joe Alvarez missed his header to allow Jason Kaate in for a chance, but luckily he was forced wide and Josh Addison’s positioning meant he could only aim for the far post, dragging wide.
It took nearly half an hour into the game for either goal to come under any kind of threat again, with Casuals right-back Ayomide Majekodunmi drifting infield and dragging his low shot well wide from 25 yards.
Guernsey’s lead on the half-hour was a gift, as Matthew Kellett-Smith's heavy first touch was seized upon by Ross Allen, who advanced towards goal and dinked the ball just over the onrushing Dan Purdue from the edge of the box, the ball having just enough on it to see it home - Allen’s goal instinct as sharp as ever it seems despite several weeks out.
Another casual pass, this time in the home defence, gifted the Chocolate-and-Pinks their next sight of goal as Elliott Cannon seized on Alvarez’s slack pass, but luckily for him, Cannon pulled his shot comfortably wide from the edge of the box.
Kieran Mahon’s ball towards Matt Loaring ended up at the feet of Sam Murray, who was off balance and at an unfavourable angle on the edge of the area and so could only lift his shot high and wide.
Kaate managed to stick the ball in the net in first-half stoppage time after Tom Vaudin’s clearance had been charged down, but the ball had clearly bounced up onto the forward’s arm and the flag was up to deny him before the ball had even crossed the line.
The opening exchanges of the second half provided much more entertainment. The half was less than 30 second hold when Addison held Jack Smith’s free-kick that bounced just in front of him, and his launch upfield was flicked on by Murray to put Gauvain in behind. He looked to mimic Allen’s earlier goal by lifting the ball just over Purdue as he went down, but didn’t get enough power behind it and the Casuals defence were able to recover to keep it out and win a goal-kick in the process.
Within another minute Nial Hainsworth send in a delicious cross onto the head of Loaring, but he could only direct it straight at Purdue, who pushed it away only for Allen to pick it up and fire it back into the six-yard box, from which it was eventually cleared. Murray heading over from the resulting corner.
After nearly going two up, Guernsey were then counting their blessings that they weren’t pegged back. Jamie Dodd’s decision to leave a high ball for Addison allowed Casuals to attack it. Cannon was forced wide to the byline but his pullback found Kaate free on the edge of the six-yard box, but the number nine blazed over with the goal gaping.
It was starting to become clear why these two sides were two of the lowest scorers in the division so far.
Murray then failed to connect from point black range after Allen had collected Alvarez’s flicked on and teed up the number nine, and worries were creeping in that this game was panning out in the same manner as against the Metropolitan Police.
Allen won a free-kick inside the D on 74 minutes but drove his subsequent effort well over.
GFC’s momentum was petering it out and out of the blue on 83 minutes, it was 1-1 as substitute Koshem Powell-Downey found a bit of space 25 yards out and tried his luck. Addison got a touch to the low shot but it ended up squirming into the net.
Guernsey had more time to find a winner this time than they did against the Met Police, but with Gauvain forced off holding his knee, GFC’s most creative outlet was gone and they couldn’t fashion another chance to get a winner.
That means they remain in the bottom two, and a win for Northwood at Chipstead means the safety of the midtable back is drifting further away. Saturday’s other results were as follows: Ascot Town 1-3 Southall, Ashford Town 1-1 Sutton Common Rovers, Binfield 3-5 Thatcham Town, Chipstead 1-3 Northwood, Hanworth Villa 4-2 Westfield, Hartley Wintney 0-0 South Park, Metropolitan Police 0-4 Leatherhead, Raynes Park Vale 2-0 Uxbridge.
GUERNSEY: 1 Josh ADDISON; 2 Niall HAINSWORTH; 3 Jamie Dodd (c); 4 Joe ALVAREZ; 5 Tom VAUDIN; 6 Kieran MAHON; 17 Charlton GAUVAIN (14 Tom DODDS, 84’); 8 Dave RIHOY (15 Ryan-Zico BLACK, 88’); 9 Sam MURRAY; 10 Ross ALLEN; 11 Matt LOARING. Not used: 12 Dave MERRIS; 13 Jordan KELLY.
CORINTHIAN-CASUALS: 1 Dan PURDUE; 2 Ayodime MAJEKODUNMI; 3 Oscar WALTON; 4 Francis QUARM; 5 Matthew KELLETT-SMITH; 6 Marcus TRAVERS; 7 Conrad CONDUAH; 8 Jack SMITH; 9 Jason KAATE (12 Reggie SAVAGE, 72’); 10 Elliott CANNON (16 Reuel POWELL-DOWNEY); 11 Shea CASCOE-ROGERS (15 Koshem MUTRA-ERIBUWA, 64’). Not used: 14 Jack LILLIE; 18 Travis PRESCOT.
Book: Quarm, Conduah.
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