Goals: Sobowale 4’, 60’, 76’; Mensah 15’ - Allen (pen) 69’.
Guernsey struggled to get going against a powerful Whyteleafe side in Surrey as they suffered their first defeat of the season on August Bank Holiday Monday.
Having found themselves 3-0 down after an hour, there could have been a different outcome and exciting last few minutes had Will Fazakerley's finish soon after Ross Allen's penalty had not been chalked off for offside. But it was and, rather than being 3-2 down, the Green Lions gifted their hosts a fourth to seal the game.
But with no pre-season, Tony Vance can perhaps put this one down to early season rust and a bad day at the office that can be put to bed in the next few weeks.
Despite some neat possession in the opening exchanges, it was an uphill struggle for Guernsey for the majority, and they were behind within four minutes. Whyteleafe went route one with a free-kick that was not dealt with. The ball found its way via Corie Andrews to Ronald Sobowale, who had got beyond his man to poke the ball past Callum Stanton from close range.
It was nearly two instantly as Jordan Clarke cut inside from the left beat Frank Tobin and curled the ball towards the far corner, where, luckily for Guernsey, it cracked off the foot of the post.
A low Sobowale free-kick took a deflection on its way wide in the ninth minute and the Leafe were then guilty of missing an absolute sitter as a delivery was headed back across goal after Guernsey were unable to clear a corner. Corie Andrews should have turned it in from close range with the whole goal to aim at, but hit it straight at Stanton, who blocked with his legs.
A Ross Allen free-kick was then cleared before it reach the goalkeeper before the Leafe doubled their lead inside a quarter of an hour as Guernsey were guilty of falling asleep. Keanu Marsh was high up the pitch when he fouled Graham Bentley, and the team were not alert enough to get back into position as the hosts restarted play quickly. Emmanuel Mensah played a one-two, receiving the return ball an empty right channel. Mensah broke into the box and saw his first effort blocked by Stanton at his near post but pounced on the rebound to direct it into the net at the far post.
Will Fazakerley almost turned a corner into his own net before Guernsey finally started making a few inroads in attack but it was always the final ball or first touch in the box that let them down.
Captain Jamie Dodd made an important block to deny Antonio Walker-Barth from six yards, shortly before Marsh was forced to leave the field early with a nasty cut below his eye following a collision with his marker as the pair challenged for Thomas Dodds’ crossfield ball.
The Green Lions were lucky not to be 3-0 down just after the half-hour as Antonio Walker-Barth somehow dragged wide from six yards after Stanton had saved Andrews’ initial effort with his legs as the visitors again couldn’t get the ball off their hosts.
Stanton kept his side in the game shortly before half-time as a short free-kick teed up Sobowale for a low shot but the Guernsey stopper scrambled to his right to tip it wide.
Substitute Seb Skillen finally produced the Green Lions’ first meaningful effort on goal as he exchanged passes with Liam Mahon and headed into the area. Unfortunately, his poke at goal towards lacked the pace or slight bit of height it needed to beat Tyler McCarthy and find the far corner.
Tobin then inexplicably played a pass across his own area that went straight to Sobowale, but his low cross was sent wide by Walker-Barth.
The second half started in similar fashion with Solowale getting onto a home clearance after a minute and shooting early from outside the area. It may have been heading wide anyway, but Stanton got down to his right to divert it behind just to make sure.
His next save, four minutes into the half, was even better as he denied Clarke from point-blank range after Sobowale had broken free into the area and squared the ball into the middle.
Guernsey’s first chance of the half came 11 minutes in as Allen danced his way down the left wing, cut back and send in a cross, but half-time substitute Carlos Canha could only turn it wide at the near post.
The game looked to be over on the hour as Sobowale got his second and Whyteleafe’s third. The home side drove forward and the ball was played into the big number nine. He skipped past Tom Strawbridge with fancy footwork and drove the ball high into the net past Stanton from the angle.
The game was in danger of becoming a thumping with the mood the hosts were in against their disjointed visitors, but Tony Vance’s side kept at it and came close on 63 minutes as Allen teed up Canha for a dangerous cross. Fazakerley rose to meet it but his flicked header dropped just wide of the far post.
It nearly became four at the other end as Sobowale cut in from the left byline past Strawbridge and went for the reverse shot back towards the near post. Thankfully, Stanton was alert to turn it on to the post before smothering the rebound.
Guernsey were handed a lifeline midway through the half as Allen and Canha produced a neat exchange of passes before the former went to ground under Matthew O’Donoghue’s challenge. There was little protest at the penalty decision. Allen took the spotkick himself, finding the top right-hand corner with aplomb as McCarthy went the wrong way.
There was now slim hope, and 3-2 would have made it really interesting, but the Green Lions were denied it with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. Fazakerley turned in Allen’s low cross from a yard out, but the prospect of a fascinating finale was quickly wiped out by the assistant referee’s flag, despite Fazakerley’s protests that he was onside.
From nearly being just a goal down, to It being all over in a matter of moments shows how quickly a game can turn. Again, it was avoidable with Guernsey in control of the ball, but Tobin’s poor control of a pass allowed Ricardo Thompson to pounce, drive into the area and square for Sobowale to tap into an empty net for his hat-trick.
Kieran Mahon’s whipped shot from distance was deflected off target and he then drove wide the other way across goal from the resulting corner in the closing stages.
It nearly got even worse for the Sarnians in the final few minutes as Strawbridge was adjudged to have pulled back Sobowale as he headed towards goal. The resulting penalty from Junior Akhionbare was low and fairly central, with Stanton getting down to his right to make a strong block and keep the scoreline that little bit more respectable.
Liam Mahon hooked wide from way out and Skillen forced a smart saved from McCarthy as he curled the ball towards the bottom corner, while the younger Mahon brother lifted a shot over the top from distance as the game drew to its conclusion.
Sobowale’s free-kick that flew over the top was the last kick of the game as the Green Lions dropped to 16th in the early standings ahead of Saturday’s trip to South London to face Phoenix Sports.
The other Bank Holiday Monday Isthmian South East results were as follows: Burgess Hill Town 1-2 Chichester City, Cray Valley PM 1-0 Sevenoaks Town, East Grinstead Town 0-0 Hastings United, Phoenix Sports 1-2 VCD Athletic, Ramsgate 1-2 Sittingbourne, Three Bridges 0-5 Ashford United, Whitehawk 1-1 Haywards Heath Town, Whitestable Town 3-0 Herne Bay.
Whyteleafe: Tyler McCarthy, Emmanuel Mensah, Matthew O’Donoghue, Nathan Campbell, Ricardo Thompson, Corey Holder, Corie Andrews (Junior Aikionbare 53’), Bentley Graham (Dami Olorunnisome 78’), Ronald Sobowale, Antonio Walker-Barth, Jordan Clarke (Jamie McGeoghegan 72’). Not used: Martin Sontan, Jushua Malcolm.
|Shirt||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|2||Keanu Marsh (Seb Skillen 29')||-||-||-|
|4||Thomas Dodds (Tom Jackson 66')||-||-||-|
|11||Matt Loaring (Carlos Canha 46')||-||-||-|