Football: Solomon two, Solomons three
THREE clinical finishes from a pair of Pacific-islanders and two conversions from an aptly-named Jerseyman provided positivity for players and officials alike in a landmark game at Springfield.
Arranged with the help of Uefa as the visitors prepare for a European tournament in Belarus, the Friday night fixture was more than just a friendly. It acted as a vehicle for international relationship building and offered the Jersey Football Association the chance to highlight their capabilities against teams with the talent required for world-class football.
The Solomon Islands – ranked second in the Oceania qualifiers for the upcoming U17 World Cup in Brazil – took time to settle in bitter conditions but did enough to finish 3-2 up through goals from Raphael Le’ai (two) and Charles Mani.
Fittingly, Sol Solomon bagged both of Jersey’s goals.
Jersey FA Centre of Excellence manager Paul Renton said: ‘I’ve said before, the main thing is to be competitive and I think we were tonight. We had a lot of good performances in our team.
‘I thought the goals we lost were a bit scruffy but we were always at our most vulnerable on the counter-attack because of their pace. When you’ve got players like they have with pace you’re always wary.
‘They’ve enjoyed themselves here and they’re complimentary about what we’re doing, so I think everyone has won.’
Just two of the visiting squad of 19 had ever laid eyes on an artificial football pitch – let alone played on one.
Full report and reaction in Monday's Final Whistle.
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