Guernsey reclaimed the Nigel Gavey Memorial Trophy on Sunday 12th March with a hard fought and deserved victory in the annual inter-insular Representative fixture.
The match, which was played in front of over 400 people at Footes Lane Stadium, was a typically competitive inter-insular fixture, with both teams fully committed. Jersey started brightly and had a number of half-chances in the first 15 mins, whilst Guernsey were content to defend in numbers and create chances through counter-attacks. Guernsey’s first chance came through a goalkeeping error, which almost allowed Jarrod Carrington with an opportunity to open the scoring, whilst Jersey missed a good chance to take the lead before half-time when a shot came back off the post.
The second-half started in a similar fashion, with Guernsey again comfortable defending in numbers and limiting the number of chances for a Jersey team that maintained the majority of possession. Midway through the second half, Head Coach, Colin Fallaize, changed the Guernsey formation and shortly after the change, a good team move led to Charlie Driscoll being through on goal. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Driscoll expertly finished into the bottom corner to give Guernsey the lead and only 12 minutes left of normal time. Jersey went in search of an equaliser but some resolute and disciplined defending, led by captain, Charlton Gauvain, and man of the match, Miles Hardill, ensured the for the most part Jersey were denied any clear goal-scoring opportunities. However, with less than 5 mins before the full-time whistle, a Jersey free-kick led to a goalmouth scramble that saw Guernsey ‘keeper, Chris Mahy, save bravely before team-mates blocked several follow-up shots before the ball was cleared. Jersey had one final chance in the last minute of the match, but a free-kick clipped the outside of the post and Guernsey played out the final moments before claiming a well-deserved 1-o win.
After the match, Head Coach, Colin Fallaize reflected on the achievement of his players;
‘As I look back on the match, I think about all of the hard work and commitment the players within the squad have shown, not only today but throughout the season. Sometimes your plans will work and sometimes they won’t..… but the one thing in life is to try to give yourself a chance and that is what this group of players have done. By that, I mean if you can’t swim don’t jump into the sea, if you have to fight a giant best you don’t let him hit you, and if you are going to play a team that could possibly have technically better players then you don’t take them on at their own game. There may have been spectators at the match who consider themselves to be armchair football purists and like to see the game played in a beautiful way. If that is the case then I can understand that they may have been disappointed when watching the match and the way this proud Guernsey team played, but I will not apologise for the way the team played and for how we achieved success. We went into the game as underdogs and if you are a supporter who loves to see commitment, passion, a non-negotiable work ethic then surely you could not have been disappointed. When you combine those intangibles with a game plan executed to the letter then you would have been a proud onlooker as I am a proud Head Coach.’
Attention will now turn to the next age group inter-insular match, when Guernsey U18’s will travel to Jersey on Saturday 18th March hoping to retain the Junior Muratti trophy.
The match at Springfield Stadium kicks-off at 2.00pm.