Goal: Allen 21’.
Guernsey showed great second-half resilience to record their 100th competitive win at Footes Lane as they edged out Sevenoaks Town 1-0 in an entertaining afternoon at Footes Lane.
In a game where both sides played very well, there were chances a-plenty despite the low scoreline. Sevenoaks wouldn't have been undeserving of a point – Callum Stanton made several important stops – while the Green Lions could have had more than one.
In the end it was Ross Allen who made the difference with a well-taken first-half strike as Tony Vance’s side earned their second clean sheet of the season and ended a three-match losing run.
Kieran Mahon had the first sight of goal within three minutes, narrowly clearing the crossbar with a dipper from 25 yards – a far better effort that Ben Gorham’s for the visitors five minutes later that sailed well over the top.
Twelve minutes in, Robbie Legg could have teed up an unmarked Charlton Gauvain on the edge of the area but opted to turn and shoot and could only find the hands of Patrick Lee via a deflection.
An early scare came on 14 minutes as Louis Collins slipped past Jamie Dodd and drove into the area to get onto a through ball but his low was too central and Callum Stanton got down to block it.
The Green Lions’ produced their best move of the game so far after 20 minutes. Gauvain had initially collected an excellent crossfield ball from substitute Alex Scott – who had come on early for Carlos Canha, who had taken a whack to the head – but saw his shot well blocked. Guernsey recycled the ball and Gauvain found Ross Allen in the area. It was almost a classic Ross goal as he turned his man not once, but twice, and fired towards the far post on the stretch only to see a defender divert it behind.
But it was classic Ross from the corner as Gauvain pulled it low towards the edge of the area. Allen ran across the box and thumped the ball home past several defenders on the line for his fifth goal of the season.
Stanton bailed his side out with a brilliant stop just after the half hour as Tom De La Mare’s loose ball in midfield was seized upon by Sevenoaks, who instantly played the ball towards Frankie Sawyer. Tom Strawbridge missed his interception and Sawyer blasted at goal. Stanton was already on his way down to his right but showed great reactions to stick out his left arm and claw the ball away.
Legg found Lee in his way again as he turned and shot towards the near post from the angle on 37 minutes, while Alex Fiddes drove in from the right and skied his effort from 25 yards at the other end.
Gauvain was then denied by the woodwork as he met a looping cross from Scott on the volley, his powerful effort smacking the near post and going wide off a defender. The Green Lions worked another corner routine and the ball was pulled back to Frank Tobin, who lashed his rising effort just wide to Lee’s right.
The chances were stacking up for the hosts as Lee then got down to his right to make a smart block from Gauvain.
But the hosts were nearly punished for not putting another one away right at the end of the half as a deep free-kick towards the far post was headed back across goal and Bradley Schafer grazed the top of the crossbar with his header. Shortly before that, Tommy Whitnell headed a sitter wide but it would have been ruled out by the offside flag anyway.
Sevenoaks sensed there was something in it for them in the second half. FIddes’ strike soon after the break was well over Stanton’s crossbar, and Scott replied in kind with a firm strike from just outside the visitors’ box that was blocked by Lee.
Frank Tobin and Tom Strawbridge both made important blocks to deny Sawyer within the space of a minute, then the Sevenoaks striker collected a half-cleared ball and lashed a dipping effort that would have found the top corner if not for an outstanding flying save from Stanton.
The Green Lions then worked a chance down the left that saw Kieran Mahon drive into the area but his low shot from the angle was straight at Lee, who blocked.
An inswinging free-kick from Legg near the left touchline nearly caught Sevenoaks out when they were expecting the cross, but Lee got down to push it away. The Sevenoaks stopper was being kept busy and was called into action from the resulting corner as he tipped over Strawbridge’s header.
Guernsey were building a head of steam again, and captain Jamie Dodd lashed a shot just past the post after meeting a low free-kick on the edge of the area.
Stanton came to his side’s rescue again on 65 minutes with a superb reactive block to deny Bradley Schafer, who was then denied on the follow-up by an excellent defensive block.
Allen was doing brilliant to occupy the visiting defence and give his defence some much needed respite. A brilliant turn and run down the left almost earned him a brace as a turned his man and drove into the area only to flash his shot across the face of goal from the angle. Jake Beecroft then kept Stanton’s palms warm with a daisycutter from distance that was pushed wide.
A great chance to seal the game wasn’t taken as Gauvain broke down the left but hit his shot straight at Lee. The ball fell to Allen, who had time with all nearby defenders retreating to the goal line, but opted for the first-time shot and saw his weak effort blocked. Gauvain’s chance came from an initial probing header from Scott, who had an excellent home debut.
It was a tense finish but a huge sense of satisfaction at the final whistle as GFC kept their second clean sheet of the season and put themselves back within touching distance of the play-offs.
Saturday’s other results were as follows: Chichester City 1-1 Sittingbourne, Cray Valley PM 1-1 Hythe Town, Faversham Town 1-0 Three Bridges, Hastings United 3-1 Phoenix Sports, Haywards Heath Town 2-1 Ramsgate, Herne Bay 2-2 Ashford United, VCD Athletic 4-0 Burgess Hill Town, Whitehawk 3-0 Whistable Town, Whyteleafe 0-0 East Grinstead Town.
Sevenoaks Town: Patrick Lee, Fraser Walker, Liam Smith, Jake Beecroft, Jack Miles, Ben Gorham, Louis Collins (Tyrell Richardson-Brown 68’), Bradley Schafer, Tommy Whitnell (Ainsley Everett 79’), Frankie Sawyer, Alex Fiddes (Renford Tenyue 87’). Not used: Nathan Gordon, Daniel Parkinson.
Booked: Gorham, Miles.
|Shirt||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|6||Tom De La Mare||-||-||-|
|9||Robbie Legg (Keanu Marsh 71')||-||-||-|
|11||Carlos Canha (Alex Scott 13')||-||-||-|