Video – A vital point gained rather than two lost
Monday 7th January 2013, 5:00PM GMT.
Highlights courtesy of GFCTV in partnership with Kings Life
Molesey 1, Guernsey FC 1
IN A season where many attacking players have proved their worth, on this occasion Guernsey FC were grateful to Chris Tardif to leave Walton Road with a point.
The Green Lions goalkeeper will not always attract much attention given his team’s goalscoring exploits, but wearing the captain’s armband here, he made three superb first-half saves.
And they proved crucial, as he denied the home side a half-time lead they were full value for, such was their dominance in those first 45 minutes.
Molesey winger James McShane tormented GFC all afternoon long, often through his dead ball deliveries, and the home team were arguably the biggest attacking threat the Lions have faced yet.
Not that GFC helped themselves.
Although they were infinitely better in the second half, they could never get a grip on a game where they regularly bypassed their midfield with hopeful balls forward.
At times, it looked as though they were relying purely on individual magic and although their big attacking names of Messrs Allen, Rihoy and Loaring persevered, they did not get too much joy.
Rustiness no doubt played some part in the performance, this being their first outing in four weeks and on a soft, heavy and extremely wide pitch to boot.
And had Allen added to his earlier tap-in by converting a glorious opportunity in stoppage time, he would have completed the ultimate smash-and-grab raid for his team.
But come the full-time whistle from the excellent Ryan O’Sullivan, it was Molesey who can feel somewhat aggrieved at not picking up the three points they deserved.
Having weathered one early GFC attack that saw centre-back Jordan McCartney make a brilliantly-timed tackle to deny Matt Loaring, the hosts began to take control.
Full-back Tom Dilloway was excellent down the left, as was the superb McShane, while the deep movement of captain and centre-forward Lewis Ackerman was also creating space.
McShane was continually causing problems from corners and on one occasion had a strong penalty appeal turned down, after a loose ball was suspected of hitting a GFC hand.
The game was 18min. old when Tardif produced his first intervention, superbly parrying away a powerful goalbound Ross Chalke header, after the Molesey midfielder had been given space in the box.
That came from the right flank and it was that area that nearly brought joy for Molesey again on 23min., this time McShane’s poor cross being only half-cleared to Manny Quarshie.
The big striker responded with a 20-yard rising effort that looked destined for the roof of the net, only for Tardif to produce an excellent backwards fingertip save.
From the resulting corner, Tardif produced his coup de grace, with as good a reaction block as you could wish to see.
McShane’s delivery caused panic as a number of players attempted to bundle home, but it was Ackerman who slid in from point-blank range with a powerful effort.
Somehow, Tardif spread himself enough to block it on the line with everybody else beaten.
Thankfully for the visitors, their goal began to come under much less scrutiny as time wore on, although meaningful GFC forays forward were still limited.
Glyn Dyer did finally sting the palms of Molesey keeper Wester Young with a long-range effort, although he also put another ambitious free-kick from range handsomely over the crossbar.
He did learn from that with another delivery later on, which skidded along the turf and somehow was not turned in on the stretch by either Allen or Dom Heaume.
That was as good as it got before the break and with the words of coach Tony Vance ringing in their ears, the Green Lions came out sharper from the restart.
And on 49min., it culminated with an undeserved lead for the Greens.
Heaume was one man consistently winning one particular battle in the air and when he did it again, the ball dropped to Rihoy on the edge of the area.
His powerful effort across goal forced Young into a stop, but Allen’s well-timed run and quickest reaction saw him follow home from all of five yards.
The roar he let out signalled the importance of the strike, but within a minute of the restart, Molesey were back on level terms.
In similar fashion to GFC’s opener, a loose ball dropped to McShane at range and his angled half-volley dipped viciously in the air as it headed towards goal.
Bouncing just in front of Tardif, the GFC number one could only get hands on it to push it upwards into the roof of the net.
Suddenly, those two strikes had brought the game to life and Loaring came agonisingly close to giving GFC the lead again on 52min., breaking free and sliding past Young, only for his effort to come back off the foot of the post.
The move of the match nearly saw Molesey complete a turnaround, but the excellent build-up from Ackerman and Chalke was ruined by the mishit finish from the advancing Dilloway.
His chance was at the end of a manic spell of play and the game settled back down again, the next real chance coming when Young tipped over Rihoy’s effort on 70min.
Despite Molesey having the better of the play all afternoon, the clear-cut chances were pretty even and Rihoy forced another fine one-on-one save from Young after an excellent team move of their own.
Scott Bradford would soon make his return to GFC colours by replacing Dyer and the Saints man looked impressive in his cameo appearance, nearly setting up a last-gasp winner.
With eight minutes remaining, McShane could have won it for the home side, Tardif making another decent save at his near post, before there was a late flurry of substitutions.
Both sides made a double change with just seconds remaining of normal time, youngsters Nigel Hutton and Joe Alvarez thrown forward by Vance.
And although they did not have a chance to get too involved, the brilliance of Bradford created a chance that Allen would so often dispatch.
A Molesey clearance was plucked out of the air exquisitely by Bradford on the halfway line and looped straight back into danger.
Heaume leapt highest to win the header and, although it dropped invitingly 10 yards out for the onrushing Allen, the side’s leading scorer fired the loose ball a matter of inches over the crossbar, with Young beaten.