Super sub Pereira nets GFC hard-fought win
Monday 4th November 2013, 5:00PM GMT.
Video supplied by Guernsey FC in association with www.kings.gg
Faversham Town 1, Guernsey FC 2
DESPITE their points value, some wins are bigger than others.
That is exactly what Guernsey FC must have been thinking mid-Saturday afternoon in Kent after what could be a defining Ryman South success.
It is still early days in this latest Green Lions promotion push that will see ever-increasing obstacles ahead, but seldom have they worked harder for three points.
That they kept their heads when one or two of their opposing Faversham players were quickly losing theirs, bodes well for the character required in the months ahead.
Tony Vance’s men have learned in recent times – particularly this calendar year – how to win ugly and there can be no words that sum up this particular occasion better.
Although the opening half-hour or so was entertaining to watch at the Shepherds Neame Stadium, the remainder was nothing more than a battle between two sides with differing philosophies.
Faversham’s was to play direct as often as they could, led by the huge throws of Aaron Lacy, while GFC continued to play their football and looked dangerous throughout on the counter-attack.
That it was that approach which eventually paid off was in no small part to the superb GFC defence, led by a man-of-the-match display by Angus Mackay, whilst Alex Le Prevost slotted in excellently alongside him at centre-back.
Missing their fair share of big names for varying reasons, as well as battling for a win at a ground where other promotion- chasers have already come unstuck, all means that when the final points tallies are totted up, this could be a huge turning point.
When all evidence was suggesting a point at best late on, and more realistically a Faversham win, the timing of young Paris Pereira’s first goal for the club cannot be understated either.
He will have few prouder moments in a GFC career that promises to be a lengthy one, but plenty had already happened before that 86th-minute intervention.
Even early on, genuine clear-cut chances were at a premium at both ends, although it was GFC who made the brighter start and came close with Glyn Dyer’s curling effort.
That went inches wide, but was the first input on a good afternoon for the little winger, who enjoyed an excellent game.
At the other end, Chris Tardif had to be alert for the first time to push away Jamie Maxted’s header from captain Lacy’s long throw, which would become a recurring theme.
As well as being lengthy, the throws were so flat that they appeared more like a cross and it was what created the vast majority of the host’s openings.
However, as the game wore on, GFC would deal with it better, clearly frustrating Lacy, whose attitude towards the match officials suggests the ‘Respect’ campaign still has some way to go.
Darren Marsden fired over in a rare Faversham moment from open play, although it was probably a quarter-chance at best, before the first moment of controversy.
GFC broke away at breakneck speed through a lovely Jamie Dodd backheel and sweeping Ryan-Zico Black ball out to Marc McGrath, who surged into the penalty area.
He skipped past Renford Tenyue, who sent the visiting striker tumbling, but amazingly referee Shaun Scott did not point to the penalty spot.
Moments later, Ross Allen came alive for the first time by beating Matthew Bourne and firing in a cross, but Kieran Mahon turned over from a couple of yards out.
After that flurry midway through the half, things settled down into a pattern that would last, where the entertainment rating dropped considerably and it became a war of attrition.
The next chance came just before half-time, when GFC failed to deal with Lacy’s latest throw and an unmarked Maxted really should have scored.
It nearly worked again straight after the break when Le Prevost was alert to clear off the line, before a similar situation forced a brilliant fingertip save from captain Tardif.
Those blocks proved crucial on 53 minutes, when against the run of play, GFC opened the scoring.
Allen found a bit of space with which to work and although his fierce mid-range effort came flying back off the crossbar, McGrath kept his cool to steer the rebound into the far corner.
Faversham responded by bringing top-scorer Brendon Cass off the bench, but the goal saw a brief momentum swing as GFC upped a notch in their attacking intent.
However, they could not find that elusive second and on 64min., switched off for a moment to allow Luke Harvey in to slide across the box, where Tom Hickman was waiting.
He broke the offside trap well and tapped in to make it 1-1.
But then, all hell broke loose.
Harvey and Mackay had been having a decent battle all afternoon, but after one incident, it all kicked off.
It originally involved Harvey forcibly trying to get the ball back after it went out for a goal-kick, when the Faversham striker was heard to tell Mackay that he would ‘do him’ in the next tackle.
When Mackay released the ball down the left, Harvey came in leg straight, studs-up on the GFC defender, who went down in agony and was fortunate to get up unscathed.
That saw the normally mild-mannered Tardif charge across to the touchline at full pace in a rage of verbal fury at Harvey, before players from both sides got involved in a sizeable altercation.
Tardif’s anger was understandable, though, as the horror tackle can be described as disgusting, if you were being generous.
How he only got a yellow card instead of a red is something that only Scott could answer, a caution the same punishment Tardif received for his reaction.
After a lengthy delay, Mackay was thankfully fit enough to continue and showed his class seconds later by thwarting Harvey with a stunning goal-saving sliding tackle.
Pereira entered the fray for Nigel Hutton soon after, unaware of the impact he was to have later on the game, as Allen continued to threaten.
Only a superb Maxted header turned away a goalbound effort for a corner after the GFC star had turned Ashley Brown inside-out, not for the first or last time.
At the other end, Harvey continued to be in the action and should have scored from close range, but Tardif added another highlight to his growing player-of-the-season nomination reel with a wonderful low save.
Jacques Isabelle was the latest in the notebook with a very poor late and clumsy tackle on Maxted, with the right-back ironically coming off worse and being replaced by Simon Geall.
GFC were defending for their lives at this point, but cometh the hour, cometh a match-winning counter-attack.
Mahon, who wasn’t too far behind Mackay in the man-of-the-match stakes, shifted it across quickly to Allen on the left, who spun Brown and left him for dead.
His low cross, fired across the six-yard line, demanded someone wearing green to turn it home, that man being Pereira, who had timed his run expertly to stay onside.
GFC now had something substantial to defend and did it well, seeing out a number of further Lacy throws, with Dodd also coming into his own in those battling final few minutes.
Hickman chipped over the bar in the only genuine opening, though, and the only time Tardif was troubled was because of Bourne’s elbow to the side of the head while claiming a cross.
That should also have been a sending off, but by then, any hope of help from the officials was long gone, but as it happened, it mattered little when the final whistle was blown.
Another three points on their travels for a Lions side unbeaten in the league for 10 weeks and few successes will have been as satisfying as this.
Faversham Town: Overland, Lacy, Bourne, Brown, Maxted, Marsden, Hickman, Wilson, Botterill, Tenyue (Cass 55), Harvey.
Guernsey FC: Tardif, Isabelle (Geall 83), Mackay, Le Prevost, Dodd, Hutton (Pereira 69), Mahon, Black, Dyer, McGrath, Allen.
Referee: S. Scott.