Allen and McGrath see GFC to victory
Thursday 12th September 2013, 5:00PM BST.
Video supplied by Guernsey FC in association with kingslife.gg
Burgess Hill Town 0, Guernsey FC 3
AS STRIKE partnerships go, the combination of Ross Allen and Marc McGrath is certainly proving itself to be a lethal weapon for Guernsey FC.
It may have only been created at the end of last season and starting to blossom fully in the early weeks of this, but it was a key tool in securing another highly-impressive three points for the Green Lions.
Throw in yet another superb defensive display, of which there have been plenty on the road in recent weeks, a controlled all-round performance and the return of Ryan-Zico Black, and it was a perfect evening’s work for the men in white.
Burgess Hill were certainly no mugs and looked a decent outfit, particularly in a dominant early spell, but after McGrath had broken the deadlock on 13min., GFC showed exactly what they were made of.
Although the personnel has changed due to the sizeable injury list in centre midfield, the solid 4-4-2 structure meant that the hosts were playing sideways throughout and could not find their way through a disciplined visiting XI.
It was exceptional from the Lions, with the centre-back pairing of Sam Cochrane and Tom Strawbridge again faultless, the latter particularly impressive, while Dom Heaume again shone in front of them, as did his partner Matt Loaring in the heart of midfield.
As for the new-look front two, they are a pair of genuine goalscorers who suit each other’s games to a tee and are starting to develop a near-telepathic understanding that is hurting teams at this level.
They scored all three on the night between them and could have had more, with McGrath again shining as he took his goals tally to four, a feat later matched by Allen, while having a direct hand in over half of GFC’s goals this campaign.
It really was brilliant from back to front, with nobody underperforming and the debutant Tom Creed in between the sticks provided a calm performance that did little wrong, including making a couple of smart saves.
In fairness to the hosts, the lead that came from McGrath was in somewhat bizarre circumstances and that changed the contest entirely, because Burgess Hill were dominating the opening stages and could easily have been ahead.
Ryan Thompson should have buried a loose ball that dropped to him 10 yards from goal with nobody around him, but he dragged it hopelessly wide within the opening few minutes.
That proved costly as it was the only genuine chance they created despite pinning GFC in their own half and, indeed, box before the opener came completely against the run of play.
Burgess Hill were comfortably in possession at the back when Toby Pointing looked to play forward, only to kick straight into referee Daniel Berry, with the intervention stopping the ball dead.
It came for Glyn Dyer, who still had plenty to do when he floated an excellent ball over the top to McGrath, who did not break stride and his first touch was a sumptuous lifted shot over Alan Mansfield and into the far corner from range.
The hosts, particularly their coach, were incensed with Berry for getting in the way, but in truth, it was Pointing’s misplaced pass and then slowness to react that was the problem, as well as Dyer and McGrath’s quality.
Mansfield made amends with a fine stop from Allen immediately after, while doing likewise from Loaring as GFC continued to threaten.
Burgess Hill did end the half strongly, without coming close and the half-time scoreline was a fair one, with the evening getting even better for GFC shortly after the restart with Black’s introduction.
The departure of Tom Martin through injury was a blow, although Dyer did excel standing in at left-back and Black’s return was a welcome moment for the man who has worked so hard to get back since that terrible afternoon in Erith last November.
A more genuine footballer or person you will not find anywhere, and a man who should now propel GFC to great future heights.
For this one, though, it was Allen who would grab more limelight by making the game safe on 63min., although it was Cochrane who made the goal, with some uncharacteristic attacking magic.
His zipped-through ball to McGrath was pinpoint and although the striker’s first touch was poor, he squared for Allen, who had the simplest job of bundling home and he managed it.
Allen had another powerful effort moments later that ricocheted off a leg and onto the crossbar, but despite that, GFC were never throwing away this win and saw it out with ease.
They were able to definitively seal it on 78min., Allen being brought down by Tom Graves and a penalty being awarded, which he dusted himself off to power into the top corner.
It was the No. 10’s fourth goal in three games and although he missed an absolute sitter in the last minute to complete his hat-trick, he and GFC had still accomplished another superb away day in the UK.
Burgess Hill Town: Mansfield, Watts, Budd, Lake-Edwards (Graves 46), Fisk, Kirkwood (Grayler 72), Pointing, Slaughter, Thompson (Miller 46), Harding, Luer.
Guernsey FC: Creed, Isabelle, Cochrane, Strawbridge, Martin (Black 48), Hutton (Smith 75), Loaring, Heaume, Dyer, Allen, McGrath.
Referee: D. Berry.