Sutton Common Rovers 0
Guernsey 1 (Allen 90+5')
Guernsey snatched their first win of the season with the last kick of the game on a dramatic afternoon at Church Road.
It was built off the back of a heroic defensive effort from a makeshift centre-back pairing of Tom Vaudin and Thomas Dodds, especially with 10 men after Keene Domaille was sent off.
Then, at the death, when a calm head was needed in the box, there is no one the Green Lions would rather the ball fall too than Ross Allen, whose finish came so late that the final whistle came as the entire GFC team were celebrating in the corner.
The momentum was with Sutton Common after the break, but the Sarnians saw their fair share of the ball in the first half, although there wasn’t much in the way of clear-cut action from either side.
Allen couldn’t quite pull off a flick towards goal from Kieran Mahon’s free-kick, while the latter also saw a cross-come shot flash across goal. At the other end, Dodds diverted Tyler Cox’s shot over the bar at the near post and Courtney Swabey’s cross had Josh Addison concerned but hit the side netting.
The hosts had more control of the game in the second half, but the Green Lions largely stood firm. Nebay Haile hit a rising drive narrowly over the top. Swabey’s left-wing cross almost crept in at the near post having evaded Haile’s attempt to help it in, but Addison was alert to push it behind.
Guernsey’s task became even harder when Domaille was overenthusiastic in his challenge with little over a quarter of an hour to play, sliding in late and chopping down Matthew Surmon. The teenager had few complaints when he was shown a straight red, and it looked set to be a backs-to-the-wall finish for the visitors.
However, the Sarnians stood up to the onslaught superbly, with Vaudin and Dodds making timely tackles in the box. Mahon was also in the right place on the goal line to block as a corner dropped to Kyron Richards for shot from around the penalty spot.
It wasn’t Haile’s afternoon with two further efforts blocked heroically by Dodds. Addison also got down to hold as Cox cut in from the left and let fly, while man-of-the-match Dodds yet again produced an outstanding stop, this time on his own goal-line to keep out Richards’ acrobatic bicycle kick. The loose ball was sent back into the Guernsey box but Addison held Bertie Lloyd’s header.
In the circumstances, the Green Lions could have considered it a satisfying afternoon’s work as the game went deep into stoppage time. But a clumsy foul on Ross Allen seconds before the final whistle was due allowed for one more chance to send the ball into the box from a free-kick.
Kieran Mahon duly obliged, swinging it in towards the near post. The first defender failed to clear, and Allen needed a couple of bites at it but eventually stroked the ball across goal into the far corner to spark delirious celebrations from the visitors and leave the hosts gobsmacked.
It proved to be the very last kick of the game and GFC’s first goal of the season could prove to be one of their most vital.
Unfortunately the Green Lions have to wait a fortnight to build on this momentum with no fixture next Saturday. However, Tony Vance and his coaching colleague may see this as a good chance to take stock after seeing his side get off the mark.
GFC are up to 15th in the Isthmian South Central table, with Chertsey Town’s 2-2 draw with South Park the only other league fixture of the weekend.
Sutton Common Rovers: 1 Endurance Johnson; 2 Kevin Diomande ; 3 Jake Rumble; 4 Kyron Richards; 5 Bertie Lloyd; 6 Hugo Odogwu-Atkinson; 7 Tyler Cox; 8 Shawn Lyle (14 Matthew Surmon, 70’); 9 Melos Ajvazi (16 Nebay Haile, 52’); 10 Tony Halsey; 11 Courtney Swaby (15 Arnaud Akmel, 76’). Not used: 12 Daniel Uzor; 20 Daniel Purdue.
Guernsey: 1 Josh Addison; 2 Keanu Marsh (15 Tyler McKane, 83’); 3 Tom Vaudin; 4 Thomas Dodds; 5 Joe Alvarez (14 Ben Le Tocq, 50’); 6 Kieran Mahon; 7 Matt Loaring; 8 Danny Hale; 9 Keene Domaille; 10 Ross Allen (c); 11 Will Fazakerley (12 Robbie Legg, 66’).
Goal: Allen 90+5; Sent off: Domaille.
Highlights are available on GFCTV now.