Guernsey’s winning run continues
GUERNSEY’S next generation of senior challengers highlighted the importance of being clinical on Saturday as they secured a record-breaking Ambassadeur Bowl U21 Muratti triumph.
A fifth consecutive title went the way of the visitors at Springfield following Robbie Legg’s double, an own goal and Will Fazakerley’s opener, despite long periods of promise – and dominance – by a well-organised Jersey side.
Jake Prince, Sol Solomon and Harry Curtis all registered in front of a 400-strong crowd but their goal-scoring achievements were ultimately trumped in a 4-3 defeat.
‘I don’t think our boys deserved that,’ said Jersey manager Paul Renton.
‘I thought we were the better team. We created more chances and played some nice stuff. Could the quality in the box have been a bit better? Probably, but I’m not going to criticise the lads. They were all great.
I don’t think our boys deserved that
Jersey manager Paul Renton
‘It was fine margins and it’s just the way it is.’
Prince and Solomon both sent early efforts into Jordan Kelly’s midriff as Renton’s starting XI enjoyed touches aplenty, and the hosts’ determination to play on the front foot continued to breed positivity. Ten shots were let loose in the first 25 minutes of Jersey’s attempts to reclaim the trophy while goalkeeper Dan Birrell remained redundant, but none were of any great trouble for Kelly.
However, Guernsey’s threat was realised in the 34th minute when Fazakerley broke down the right and converted.
The number nine’s chipped opener was against the run of play. Jersey were rueing those missed chances.
Caesarean supporters were not deflated for long, though, as Prince soon levelled the scores with a goal the home side deserved.
The St Peter man used his speed to latch on to a ball through Guernsey’s back-line and took time to compose himself before side-footing underneath Kelly from right to left.
The Sarnians regained the lead on the hour with the help of a home head after Fin Whitmore had made a menace of himself inside Jersey’s box. The winger jumped to meet a lofted cross from the left flank, and although Sam Masefield beat him to it the header skewed over Birrell, who was a few yards off his line.
Legg then thought he had settled it in with a shot that caught everyone by surprise. The substitute rifled across goal from wide on the right and Birrell stood motionless as the ball tucked inside his left-hand post.
Just seven minutes left and 3-1, but there was still plenty to come. Solomon smashed home to provide late hope of a Jersey recovery – hope that was dashed and then revived again before the final whistle.
Gauvain set up Legg to tap-in for 4-2 on 87 minutes, but Guernsey let the Reds back in again when captain Curtis scored from 25 yards.
Legg, who recently returned from an ACL injury, said: ‘I’m pretty speechless.
‘If I’m being selfish, from a personal point of view the game couldn’t have gone any better but ultimately it came down to the boys showing fight.
I was doing a lot more defending than I wanted to but you’ve got to do it sometimes and work hard for the lads because they’d do the same for you. It was tough, but it was worth it.
‘Winning five times in a row is really special.’
Full report in Monday's Final Whistle.
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