Goals: Stevenson 14’; Ansah (pen) 47’, (pen) 90+3’ - Legg 63’.
A frustrating Saturday afternoon saw Guernsey’s unbeaten record at Winch’s Field undone at the unlucky seventh trip as Herne Bay won 3-1.
Fine margins saw the Green Lions blow a glorious chance to take an early lead only to find themselves behind moments later. A clumsy penalty straight after half-time gave Tony Vance’s side a real mountain to climb and despite Robbie Legg halving the deficit with plenty of time left, the dubious award of another spot-kick in stoppage-time killed off any hope of a comeback similar to last season.
Of bigger concern will be in-form forward Will Fazakerley being forced off before half-time and taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder. It means his run of a near-club record 46 consecutive appearances will come to an end. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery. Kieran Mahon also went off injured.
Guernsey started brightly with Fazakerley and Frank Tobin both having early efforts, the latter requiring a save from George Kamarusi, and the Sarnians blew a golden opportunity to take a lead they would have merited on 13 minutes.
The visitors played out from the back brilliantly via Callum Stanton and Frank Tobin, beating the high press and Charlton Gauvain was released down the right. He skipped past one and beat another before squaring for Ross Allen in front of goal. Normally meat and drink for the number 10, he somehow drilled it wide, and it was to prove costly.
Herne Bay went straight up the other end of the field, with Tushaun-Tyreese Walters playing in Bradley Stevenson on the corner of the area. He hit it early, slamming the ball into the far corner.
GFC were suddenly finding themselves on the ropes with Stanton then saving from Mobalaji Dawodu, twice, Stevenson and Patrick Nzuzi in the opening half-hour. Only Fazakerley’s distance effort that he dragged wide offered respite.
Stanton held again from Stevenson after a slip from De La Mare before Fazakerley’s injury – an innocuous one as he lost his footing and went to ground when driving forward. Luckily Vance had an ample replacement in Legg.
Stevenson saw another effort deflected to safety before the break, while Allen was caught in two minds as he was fed into the area by Gauvain and saw his cross-come-shot blocked.
It went from bad to worse within a minute of the restart with Guernsey losing possession almost straight from kick-off. The ball was played forward to Walters, who was felled by a lunge from Tom Strawbridge. Zac Ansah, one of the league most prolific scorers, calmly found the right corner from 12 yards with Stanton going the wrong way.
Dawodu should have made it three 10 minutes into the half as he forced his way past three players in the box, but couldn’t wrap his foot around the shot and skewed it wide of the near post. Another good stop from Stanton then denied Ansah from point-blank range just after the hour.
Like in the first half, it proved a pivotal moment as substitute Legg hooked his side back into the game less than a minute later, turning in from close range after good work by Canha, who had controlled a cross and lifted it into his path.
It didn’t quite bring the panic to the home backline that Guernsey would have hoped for, with Gauvain shooting wide and Keanu Marsh heading Allen’s cross over the bar either side of another great save by Stanton, with Ansah’s shot cannoning off his legs after the forward had beautifully nutmugged De La Mare.
Into the final 10 minutes, Allen’s shot across goal was blocked after the ball was worked across to him by Canha and substitute Alex Scott with the latter two combining again with five minutes to go after the Madeiran dragged back and centred, with the teenager slicing his volley wide on the stretch.
The goal to kill the game off in stoppage-time again came from the spot. It was a dubious decision as the challenge looked 50-50 at best when Frank Tobin and Keiron Campbell tussled for the ball. The Guernsey player came away with it, but Campbell had gone down and convinced the referee to point to the spot again. It was same place, same result for Ansah as he made it 3-1. A wayward shot from De La Mare brought the curtain down on a disappointing afternoon.
With the injuries, Vance will perhaps be glad that his side have next weekend off to get the likes of Mahon and Thomas Dodds fit again, with Whistable Town the next opponents at Footes Lane on Saturday 2nd November.
Guernsey drop to sixth in Isthmian South East but are level on points with Phoenix Sports in the play-offs. Saturday’s other results were as follows: Cray Valley PM 2-0 Faversham Town, East Grinstead Town 0-3 Whitstable Town, Haywards Heath Town 1-1 Hastings United, Sevenoaks Town 3-0 Ashford United, Sittingbourne 1-0 Hythe Town, Three Bridges 0-4 Phoenix Sports.
Herne Bay: George Kamurasi, Ryan Cooper, Patrick Nzuzi, Laurence Harvey, Phil Starkey, Mobolaji Dawodu, Tushaun-Tyreese Walters (Ryan King-Elliott 62’), Daniel Lawrence (Joe Nelder 89’), Zak Ansah, Bradley Stevenson (Luke Griffiths 69’), Keiron Campbell. Not used: George Crimmen, Malachi Robinson.
|Shirt||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|2||Keanu Marsh (Matt Loaring 74')||-||-||-|
|6||Kieran Mahon (Alex Scott 62')||-||-||-|
|7||Tom De La Mare||-||-||-|
|9||Will Fazakerley (Robbie Legg 42')||-||-||-|