Walton & Hersham 0 Guernsey FC 3
Despite not being a person of faith when it comes to football I am as superstitious as they come. So when the Llama Express trundled past some actual llamas on our detour through Surrey I knew the omens were good.
Things got better in the Ashley Park, just opposite the station, where White Witch ale cast its spell as kick off time approached.
Stompond Lane hasn't changed much since our last visit, other than seemingly edging closer to being turned into housing. The main stand was enjoying the winter sunshine, the tennis club was enjoying it's Diggling Dome and the old terrace opposite the main stand was still derelict but even more inaccessible than ever.
The opening bars of the match saw our white and green clad heroes get off to a bit of a slow start. Fortunately we have a chap called Tardif and he pulled off a couple of superb stops to deny the Swans any return from their stronger start to the match.
It wasn'tlike last season however. We were crossing the halfway line and creating chances, albeit the there was nothing of note in the last third. Until we reached the middle eight.
With half an hour gone Tom de la Mare received the ball on the left, headed towards the penalty are (imagine a line 45 degrees from the centre of the goal line) and put the ball beyond the advancing 'keeper for a fine finish. This is the scene a raction of a second after the ball hit the back of the net:
A few minutes later we had a penalty. From where we were standing it did look as if the defender moved his left arm towards the ball and the ref would have had a similar sight line to us. Everyone on the other side of the ground thought it was a harsh decision however, which begs the question as to why the lino didn't help the ref out. Subsequent flagging by said lino provided the answer.
Anyway Crusher stepped up to make it 2-0 from the spot so we went into the break reasonably comfortably ahead, although not exactly setting the world alight with our performance. That said either side of our two goals the home 'keeper did very well to keep out an effort from dave Rihoy and divert a cross from Jamie Dodd who,incidentally, enjoyed quite a few marauding runs down the left throughout the match.
The second half started similarly to the first with the home side coming out of the traps faster. Not surprising really given they were 2 down, but that man Tardif was again more than up to the task.
Other than a sluggish start to both halves the GFC defence had a really good day, playing as a unit with Tom Strawbridge having a particularly impressive display. If you're thinking that the goalie is part of the defensive unit then you can ignore the bit about sluggish starts...
Just over 10 minutes to go and the Swans had a gilt edged chance to get one back and set up a grandstand finish. Unfortunately, for them, Dylan Cascoe opted for power over placement and over the bar it went.
With a couple of minutes left it was down to 'Oi Oi it's' Dave Rihoy (pronounced Ree-Hoy according to some) to score GFC's 500th goal with a very smart finish indeed.
To some a win against walton & Hersham might not seem much of a big deal. Check out the leahue table before and after the game and you'll see why it was though. The smiles after the match (in the GFC camp anyway) said it all though.
Also in the clubhouse after the game Sam Cochrane presented Jim le Conte with the signed GFC shirt he won on our raffle and 'Our Nige' was given a few quid to take with him on his trip to Guernsey next week.
Then it was back on the Llama Express for the trip home. All in all a good day out glad we ignored the warning signs at the station...
Allez les Verts!!