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United attacks in the first half photo: Liam Willis

Guernsey: Played 3, won 3

Saturday 22 February

Hastings Utd 0-4 Guernsey

United had the chance to make their mark on Guernsey yesterday (Saturday) after Guernsey already had beaten United twice this season,  in the FA Cup and in the League. Ross Allen returns to the Pilot Field, 5 months after he scored a hattrick to deny the U’s another FA Cup run. Sawyer looks to maintain his good scoring run for United, as he starts just behind Kenny Pogue. Liam Willis reports.

A bright start for United straight from the kick off allowed Sam Adams to cross towards Pogue, but he couldn’t quite get his head to the ball, allowing Tardif to gather well. A strong Tom Vickers drive from twenty-five yards then forced Tardif to push the ball just over the crossbar. United continued to pile on the pressure and came close to scoring when Bailo Camara’s cross was turned onto the post from Pogue’s volley, and then a pass back from Dyer to Tardif was not given by referee Matt Eva.

United attacks in the first half 2 photo: Liam Willis

Guernsey’s first significant effort of the game came when Rihoy crossed from the right towards an unmarked Loaring in the six yard box, but he was denied by the reflex save of the season. Rihoy then fizzed a shot just wide of Pelling’s right hand side. An instant breakaway from United let Pogue cross toward Sawyer from the left, but Mackay got a toe to the ball to turn it inches wide before Sawyer could score.

Further United pressure led to a couple of successive corners. First time round, Vickers headed down and the ball was cleared for another corner by Dyer. Secondly, the Adams corner was headed at goal by Josh Jirbandey, and a further scrap in the six yard box allowed Camara to stab towards goal, but it was cleared off the line by Hutton to allow Guernsey to break. The Green Lions stormed forward on a four on one break, with only United’s Judge back. The break ended with Loaring stroking a shot past Pelling to give Guernsey the lead after only twenty-four minutes.

United pressed and pressured straight from the kick off for an instant equaliser had numerous shots were blocked. Seconds later, a stray ball found Ross Allen, who cut inside Crutwell to curl his shot against the post, Guernsey nearly doubling their lead only minutes after going in front. Further United pressure allowed Camara to fizz a ball across the six-yard box just out of reach of Tardif and the United players too.

Guernsey doubled their lead after thirty-nine minutes. The prolific striker Ross Allen skipped past Jirbandey and floated a ball towards Heaume, who couldn’t miss  his header from such close proximity. All of the United chances in the first half hadn’t paid off, but Guernsey were clinical in front of goal. Between the goal and half time, the United fans were starting to get somewhat irate with the play and the referee, who brought the half to a close with Guernsey two to the good.

United even started the beginning of the second half strongly, after what I expect were some stern words from manager, Terry White. An excellent cross from Tom Vickers found Pogue free at the far post and he could only poke his shot painfully wide from four yards. Secondly,  Pogue’s delivery towards Frankie Sawyer misfired when Sawyer couldn’t keep his header down and Tardif watched the ball rise over his crossbar.

The first change for United saw Vickers make way for Danny Ellis – a wise move from Terry White, as Vickers had already been booked and was walking a tightrope. A lot of wasted possession from United gifted Guernsey with a lot of attacking potential, but some good defending from Cruttwell and Judge denied the Green Lions an early second half goal.

Another United attack saw Cruttwell hold the ball up well on the right hand side, before delivering a superb ball in towards Pogue, but instead the ball was diverted by Mackay and it found it’s way to goalkeeper Tardif,  just as the United fans were all thinking that maybe this wasn’t going to be their day.

Trevor McCreadie and Tom O’Connor came on for Bailo Camara and Ronnie Dolan, and McCreadie’s first touch could have put United back in the game. A breakaway from United allowed Adams to find McCreadie hanging back just inside the edge of the penalty area unmarked, but he could only send a shot sailing over the crossbar. Sam Adams then had a curling freekick smarty saved by Tardif, who got down to his left well.

Guernsey made it  look like a walk in the park in the second half. A poor pass from Judge was cut out by Ross Allen who danced his way past three defenders, and then past Pelling to score with ease. Allen was celebrating before he scored, but he’s used to it – that goal was the 148th goal for the Green Lions, in only 111 games.

The third goal completely knocked the stuffing out of United, and saw Guernsey truly dominate the rest of the game. The Green Lions should’ve been four ahead when McGrath was sent clear by an excellent ball from Mahon, but he could only chip over the top, with Pelling probably beaten. A freekick from Loaring then went straight into Pelling’s hands.

Deep into four minutes of added time, Guernsey put the icing on the cake, with a fourth goal, to somewhat flatter their performance. A Ross Allen shot was well saved by Pelling, but the United number one couldn’t hold the ball which allowed McGrath to tap home only a yard out, just before the referee blew for full time.

The Green Lions win saw United’s goal difference go down to just +5, but also allowed Guernsey to be a stronger contender for automatic promotion. The U’s travel to Redhill on Tuesday evening, and are back at the Pilot Field next Monday, for a game against Chipstead.

United starting XI: Pelling, Henson, Cruttwell, Jirbandey, Judge, Dolan, Camara, Adams, Sawyer, Pogue, Vickers.
Subs: Olorunda, O’Connor, Ellis, McCreadie, Kelly.

Guernsey starting XI: Tardif, Hutton, Dyer, Mackay, Dodd, Mahon, Rihoy, Black, Heaume, Allen, Loaring.
Guernsey subs: Geall, McGrath, Jordan, Creed.

Attendance: 435

Man of the Match, as nominated for by Liam Willis: Sam Cruttwell.

Liam Willis is also Hastings United Programme Co-Editor

Posted 17:00 Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 In: Sport


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