Video – Vance’s mission impossible now mission accomplished
Tuesday 7th May 2013, 5:00PM BST.
All the goals from Guernsey FC’s last weekend of the season. Video courtesy of Guernsey FC in association with Kings.gg
Guernsey FC 1, Farnham Town 0
AFTER a season that has seen every emotion possible, it came down to the finest margins imaginable for Guernsey FC as their promotion quest had the most glorious of endings.
In the end, Matt Loaring’s bundled 51st-minute effort was not pretty, but it was mightily effective as the Green Lions defied all logic to complete their ridiculous fixture list in perfect fashion.
Quite simply, they had absolutely no right to earn back-to-back promotions after the schedule they were dealt, but the team who have produced so much in recent years saved their most astonishing feat until now.
Yet even on an afternoon when they were excellent and full value for the decisive three points, they had to survive a late scare or two of huge proportions.
Ross Allen thought he had sealed it when his effort went in but bizarrely bounced back off the tyre in the corner of the net of the portable goal, fooling the officials enough to wave play on.
That would have been costly had two ferocious Ian Dyer efforts then not found first an unwitting GFC defensive body and then the inside of the post, millimetres away from spoiling the hosts’ season.
After surviving that scare, though, they made it through what were a tense final few minutes relatively scare-free and when Isaac Jempeji finally blew for time, the celebrations could really begin.
Full credit to Farnham, though, for coming to the island with the full intention of winning the game and not spoiling their opponents, making for a cracking spectacle.
They could easily have taken the lead in the early stages, too, as GFC just about scrambled away a couple of dangerous corners, while Adam Wareham also came close with a rising effort.
At the other end, the lively Dave Rihoy very nearly connected perfectly with a short corner, but his low effort was well blocked on its goalbound journey.
The ongoing Jamie Dodd to Dom Heaume long-throw routine very nearly had its latest success, only for the big man’s flicked header to go inches over the crossbar with visiting keeper Lee Marker struggling.
Those half-chances aside, though, it was proving to be a somewhat frustrating afternoon as despite the Lions shading it, they could not find a clear-cut breakthrough.
Fortunately they did not look in much danger at the other end, as Dodd was absolutely magnificent with another brilliant showing at centre-back and now looks an odds-on bet to be the club’s player of the season.
Tom Strawbridge, who has been a crucial addition in recent weeks, also did well alongside him, while Alex Le Prevost shone in front of them as the only genuine centre-midfielder in the starting XI.
One of the men he started the game up against, Chris Yates, had to be withdrawn by Farnham
after picking up a nasty head knock and that forced a reshuffle for the visitors.
Their best player on the day was striker Mark Corbett and he nearly broke the deadlock when picking up a through ball, but GFC keeper Chris Tardif was alert off his line.
Although he would not become GFC’s hero until after half-time, Loaring was already having an exceptional game and his perseverance created a chance for Glyn Dyer, whose low effort was well saved.
Loaring had a go himself soon after, his attempt flying wide at the end of a fine passing move, one of many by a home side not getting bogged down by the occasion.
One man who was finding it frustrating for large parts was Allen, although there were glimpses of his best, one chance being cleared off the line by Rob Webb.
Moments before the break, Farnham should have made Tony Vance’s team-talk that bit more difficult, but Corbett headed over from close range.
Vance did not need to change too much at the break, even with the options of Marc McGrath and Craig Young on his bench, both of who would enter the fray later.
But that would be with their side 1-0 to the good, as GFC finally found their way past Marker for the most vital goal of their entire season.
Loaring started the move with a wonderful sprayed pass out to Allen on the right-hand side and the striker surged goalwards, beating a couple of defenders on his way through.
His powerful effort hit the post and Loaring’s rebound followed suit, but he finally managed to force it over the line at the second attempt, sending Footes Lane into raptures.
Allen’s low cross soon after somehow was not turned in by one of the arriving GFC cavalry, which totalled four in number, while Marker smartly turned behind Dyer’s curling free-kick.
It was obvious now that a second goal would kill it for the Lions, but at the same time, the tension was growing as a Farnham strike was the difference between glory and despair.
Ian Dyer’s free-kick hit the GFC crossbar, while Allen came close for GFC as he stretched to get on the end of Heaume’s header down.
For all of GFC’s and the representative island side’s success in recent times, it has come with its fair share of drama attached and their finest moment yet always had to have its fair share.
Tardif’s long ball forward set Allen away through on goal and after settling himself, his left-footed drive across Marker found the far bottom corner.
But it caught the exact spot that saw it bounce back into play off the tyre, despite being a good couple of feet over the line and after the officials missed it, they played on with a Farnham counter-attack.
That was thwarted and when it was, an irate GFC surrounded referee Jempeji, led by their captain Tardif, while Vance and Colin Fallaize were just as angry in the dugout.
It was never going to change the decision and meant the dying moments still had everything riding on them, the biggest heart-in-mouth occasion coming with just 2min. remaining.
A corner fell to the visiting Dyer and he caught his effort perfectly, only for it to be brilliantly blocked by a home defender, although it is questionable how much they knew about it.
It landed back to Dyer again and his second attempt was every bit as sweet, this time beating everybody and flying back off the inside of Tardif’s post.
Farnham continued to pressure, without creating another opening of that magnitude and when four minutes of added time were signalled, the job was nearly done.
That extra period was negotiated impressively by GFC at their attacking end of the pitch and their continuing historic ascent through the non-league pyramid was confirmed.