GUERNSEY                2 (Allen 34’; Loaring 47’)
CHERTSEY TOWN    6 (Botti 12’, 32’; Robins 23’; Ridgley 59’; Goulter 72’; McCoy 90+1’)

Chertsey Town showed their title credentials with a ruthlessness in front of goal to punish individual errors to ruin Matt Loaring’s big night and the Green Lions’ highly-anticipated return to Footes Lane.

Loaring wrote his way into the record books in becoming only the second player to score 100 goals for Guernsey, but he would have preferred it to be in far more profitable circumstances.

His century strike pulled the game back to 3-2 and set up a potentially thrilling second half, adding to Ross Allen’s first-half strike as Tony Vance’s side hauled their way back into the game from 3-0 down, but the visitors showed their class as they eased themselves away again to put a real gloss on the scoreline that suggests the game was more one sided than it actually was.

The Curfews fully deserved their three points, but their four-goal margin was largely down to four individual mistakes rather than blowing their hosts away. To their credit, GFC stuck to their principles and didn’t deviate from the way they play that has earned them so many good results since Christmas.

Guernsey were without Charlton Gauvain, whose shoulder injury meant that he was not risk in the midst of a busy schedule, and Owen Wallbridge, which meant a start for Brandon Wallace in attack as reward for his first goal for the club on Saturday. Ben Solway also came into the starting line-up as Tony Vance opted for three-centre backs

The hosts were not overawed and took the game to the league leaders, creating a couple of promising openings in the first few minutes as Wallace’s effort was diverted over as he met Dave Merris’ cutback, while Niall Hainsworth failed to muster enough power to beat Nicholas Jupp with his weaker left foot after carrying the ball across the pitch.

Jordan Kelly made a fantastic save to turn wide a rasping volley from Wayne Ridgeley before Chertsey took the lead on the counter attack in the 12th minute.

It was route one as Jupp saved from Wallace and launched a high ball forward. Tom Vaudin anticipated the ball would bounce through to his goalkeeper so opted against the header, allowing Gianluca Botti to nip in and slot under Kelly.

A strong tackle from Tom Vaudin allowed Hainsworth to burst forward again but this time he fired over from distance.

Chertsey’s second midway through the half was another avoidable moment. In a theme that lasted through the evening, they didn’t give Guernsey time on the ball, hounding them down and going straight for the jugular. On this occasion, they seized onto a loose pass from Loaring and Reece Robins evaded a couple of challenges before bursting into the box and drilling low into the far corner.

A header from Botti brushed the roof of Kelly’s net, this dominant spell from the visitors led to a third just after the half hour. It was another error as Kelly opted against the first-time clearance and tried to dribble his way out of trouble, but Conor Lee pinched the ball off him and laid it back for Botti to roll it into an empty net.

It looked very much like game over and damage limitation, but Allen gave his side a glimmer of hope just a couple of minutes later as he collected a throw from the left, worked himself a yard and lashed the ball into the far corner with his left foot.

Lee came close to restoring his side’s three-goal cushion before the break from a free-kick that beat Kelly’s dive but whistled past the post.

GFC’s hope became more of a glimmer as Loaring’s big moment brought the deficit back to one less than two minutes into the second half. Wallace hit a fantastic effort towards the top corner from all of 30 yards and Jupp was at full stretch to get a hand to it, but the ball dropped into the six-yard box with Loaring the first man on the scene to force in the rebound from close range to mark his ton and spark real life into the contest.

But Chertsey have the quality and experience not to wobble, making sure they stayed on top of the game. Lee came close again from a free-kick as he found the target this time, but Kelly was equal to it, flinging himself to his right to turn it wide.

But the resulting corner gave Chertsey breathing space again on the hour. The set-piece was cut back to Ridgley near the corner of the area, and his curler back into the area – whether cross or shot – flew straight into the top right corner, a fabulous goal.

Lee should have made it five midway through the second half as he burst past Vaudin to go one on one with Kelly, but missed a sitter as poked his shot wide with the whole goal to aim at.

Allen tested Jupp from 30 yards after he was fouled, but his free-kick was straight down the keeper’s throat.

There was an element of fortune about Chertsey’s fifth that effectively sealed the points on 72 minutes. Chad Goulter got his head to a corner, and the ball bounced up and looped just over Kelly’s fingertips and dropped in just under the crossbar.

To their credit, Guernsey stuck to their principles and kept trying to play good football and attack their opponents. It would have been ruled out by the assistant referee, but Hainsworth curler was an excellent effort nonetheless as he smacked the crossbar from the edge of the area after Allen had danced past Mason Welch-Turner on the left byline and pulled the ball back – although the assistant ruled that the number 10 had carried the ball just out of play.

Kelly foiled Lee from a free-kick again with seven minutes left, this time diving to his left, before the visitors got what was perhaps a harsh sixth from a GFC perspective.

Substitute Oscar Leadbeater, making his home debut, misplaced a back-pass and inadvertently played in Oliver McCoy, who made no mistake in slotting home.

This is certainly not one for Vance’s side to dwell on. It was a bad night at the office but was a free hit anyway against the Champions elect, and attention will immediately switch to two more big home games over the next week.

Guernsey sit 14th in Isthmian South Central with a six-point gap to Ascot United in 13th, but have two games in hand and face Ascot in a few weeks’ time.

GUERNSEY: 1 Jordan KELLY; 2 Ben SOLWAY; 3 Dave MERRIS; 4 Tom DODDS; 5 Tom VAUDIN (12 Jacques CAUVIN, 73’); 6 Seb VANCE; 7 Niall HAINSWORTH; 8 Dave RIHOY (15 Jamie DODD, 53’); 9 Brandon WALLACE; 10 Ross ALLEN (c) (16 Oscar LEADBEATER, 76’); 11 Matt LOARING.

Booked: Allen.

CHERTSEY TOWN: 1 Nicholas JUPP; 2 Mason WELCH-TURNER; 3 Alex FISHER; 4 Luke ROBERTSON; 5 Rueben COLLINS; 6 Chad GOULTER; 7 Reece ROBINS (16 Wilfred OMPERON, 75’); 8 Wayne RIDGLEY (12 Toby LITTLE, 85’); 9 Gianluca BOTTI (15 Gareth CHENDLIK, 80’); 10 Oliver McCOY; 11 Conor LEE. Not used: 13 Paul McCARTHY; 14 Callum McALLISTER.

Attendance: 499.

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