Jersey’s joy at the death
A BEAMING smile from manager Martin Cassity said it all: Jersey had retained the Muratti Vase.
That it would be tense and tight was almost a given, so the Island football team’s 3-1 penalty shoot-out victory, following a goal-less two hours at Footes Lane against spluttering hosts Guernsey, was not a surprise ending to the season’s biggest game. And it mattered not a jot to the man in charge.
‘I’m so proud and pleased to be Jersey manager today,’ said the Scot, adding: ‘It’s the best feeling ever.
‘I’m so proud and happy for everyone, they deserve a lot of credit these boys because they are an outstanding amateur football team and hopefully now we can keep going on and on and proving how good we are.’
He added: ‘I think I’ve now got to stop talking about us not taking chances because maybe, subconsciously, I’m putting that in the players’ heads.
‘Our football is brilliant, it really really is. And the effort the lads put in – and the desire not to lose – was excellent.
‘I think last Thursday’s game [against the Army FA] set us up nicely today because we went through penalties, we played against an awkward big team. I think Guernsey tried everything but they just could not get at us, even with their changes.
‘They are always a threat, but I thought we played and attacked and our game was excellent.
‘We battled hard in midfield and defence and it’s incredible that Luke Campbell and James Quérée were the two men-of-the-match considering the amount of possession and attacking play that we had.
‘I think it was our composure and when we needed them to stop their attacks and get us going they were both brilliant, but not just those two, the whole team impressed.'
Jersey captain Jack Boyle had to be replaced in the first half with an injury, but returned to the field on crutches after the game to lift the trophy.
‘It was disappointing to lose Jack, it was a big, big blow but we reacted well and got the substitution right,' Cassidy said.
‘I told the players in the team talk that Euan would save one or two penalties; I’ll guarantee you that so make sure we take ours.
‘I put Jay [Giles] on late because he’s normally 100% with his penalties but unfortunately he didn’t [score].
‘But it added to the drama and Craig Russell and Karl Hinds remained cool with their kicks while our goalkeeper was fantastic.’
Guernsey manager Chris Tardif was gutted for his group.
‘We were hanging in at the end [of extra-time] as we had four or five struggling with injuries,' he said.
‘We could have gone down to six or seven in truth, it was a difficult scenario to deal with but fair play to the boys and fair play to Jersey.
‘They had some great opportunities, we threatened in spells and it was down to the luck of the draw with penalties.
‘Jersey were well drilled, they know exactly what they are doing and they have been together for a good few years and are a very good side.
‘We didn’t quite get hold of the ball in the right areas today and we tried to change it up a bit in terms of getting the right people on the ball, but it didn’t work today unfortunately.’
Man-of-the-match James Quérée said: ‘It’s a nice touch [getting back-to-back man-of-the-match awards], but it’s no different to last year as I think any one of us could have got it.
‘Luke [Campbell] was excellent and Euan [Van der Vliet] came big in the shoot-out.
‘It was difficult losing Jack [Boyle] but the boys have been there and done it before and I think our quality shone through today.
‘We made hard work of it in attack, we knew beforehand that it wasn’t going to be a pretty game and we managed to grind it out.
‘We matched Guernsey’s work-rate and it’s great to finish with a winners’ medal around our necks.
‘We’ll enjoy this and look to try and win the competitions that we have coming up.’
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