Monday, 31 August 2015

Formation woe........(?)

Saturday saw Phoenix Sports grab a 'last gasp equaliser' to take us to a replay in the FA Cup Preliminary Round.

Once again the word dominate and various derivatives appears in quotes, reports and other utterings permeating through the myriad spendidly professional professional media outlets that the good people of Guernsey are exposed to.

It is true that we enjoyed the bulk of the possession but there was precious little in the way of end product. The first half saw the Phoenix Sports 'keeper troubled not.

The second half wasn't a great deal better but, being positive for a moment, Ross Allen took full advantage of Phoenix Sports' two defensive slips. Firstly a leg left in (when it wasn't necessary) brought Craig Young down and Rocco put the spot kick as in the corner of the net as it is possible (if that makes sense).

Then a moment when the home defence froze for a fleeting moment and our No 10 took full advantage, finishing with some aplomb.

Other than those two occasions the home side appeared to be very well organised defensively.

The goals conceded were disappointing however. On both occasions the 'runner' (he didn't have to try too hard) found space all to easily, giving Machlowski little chance.

We have a formation that, effectively, packs the midfield and leaves us less exposed to the sort of rampaging we've seen in previous seasons. Set pieces and crosses remain a problem though (as a look at GFCTV will confirm).

At the same time we're struggling to turn possession into an advantage goal wise.

Until the Guernsey gene pool throws out 6'3" central defenders aplenty we're always likely to struggle with set pieces and crosses.

Maybe the problem isn't with the players though. Could it be that the coaching is too 'technical'? Applying Barcelona tactics (designed with players earning may thousands a week) at a completely different level....

A change to 442 might not be so bad.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 28 August 2015

We're on the road to Bexley...

A trip to Phoenix Sports tomorrow then and they have had a decent start to the season, but their wins have come against teams that will probably spend the season in the bottom half of the table and the Isthmian North is generally considered to be weaker than the South.

Their defence has been frugal but they haven't exactly been banging them in for fun at the other end themselves.

We should be going into this game with an air of confidence, not arrogance. Concentrate at the back, think in midfield, don't get frustrated up front. It really is as simple as that dear reader.....(!).

The travelling squad is; Machlowski, de la Mare, le Prevost, Cochrane, Dodd, J Winch, Steel, L Mahon, Fernandez, Black, Heaume, Young, McGrath, Allen or L Winch.

One concern about the squad is that it only numbers 14, a couple of extra choices on the bench could make a difference. That said the 14 named are more than able to get the win. And they must, because I'm outre mer on 11th September and I really want to go to Chatham in the league.

The other concern about the squad is the absence of the name Rihoy. Having had to leave the field of play early at Peacehaven Dave's due to have a scan of something called medial ligaments. Something he's had problems with before so fingers crossed that all is well otherwise he may have to hang up his boots. This would be a great shame for one of the finest Guernsey footballers of his time.

We'll be getting the 10.54 from Blackfriars to Crayford tomorrow, see you in the Penny Farthing.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The road to Wembley (possibly) via Bexley

After an ignominious start against Hythe, somewhat fortunate to go in at the break just 1-0 down, the second half was a bit of a groundbreaker for our club.

No capitulation, some nice football played and Craig Young getting a late equaliser that his (and the team's) performance deserved.

All watched via Lil' Craig's Livestream broadcast, which is actually not to shabby. Go to and search for GFC Manelander TV, GFC M should do the trick.

On Saturday we start off on the road to Wembley. This season the road starts in Bexley, at the home of Phoenix Sports. Hopefully it won't end there.... If there's no winner after 90 minutes there'll be a replay in midweek at the Dripping Pan, home of Lewes FC in deepest Sussex. The winner will be at home to Lewes in the next round on 11th September, definitely (maybe).

There's some need to know and nice to know information ahead of the trip to Phoenix Sports on the 'Away Days' page.

Keep it Green.

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Two halves of heaving headless chickens...

The train from London was heaving. Brighton was heaving. The Dirty Diggler was in town for his first match of the season and it seemed his fan club's membership had heard the news. Pert young things, keen to see a demonstration of his fencing skills no doubt, everywhere we went.

Anyway, we decided to leave the Railway Bell eventually and made it to Peacehaven just in time to hear the first whistle as we approached the turnstiles.

You may have read elsewhere that we dominated the first half. We didn't really dominate but the performance was fine, given we were away from home.

Ross Allen's penalty was a surprise as we expected it to go about 20 feet over the bar.

Kyle Smith (one of the few bright spots of the day) was making some really intelligent runs, sadly though he seemed light years ahead of most of his team mates in his understanding of 'movement'.

Still, 1 up away at half time is not to be complained about, and there was a good feeling all round.

The weather was fantastic or, to put it another way, hot enough for the pampered elite in the Premier League to be rested and watered every few minutes. None of that here however and it was somewhat surprising to learn that some genius had come up with the idea of keeping the team out on the pitch at half time, thereby offering not a lot in the way of respite from the sweltering heat.

Then the 2nd half began and, being polite, it was rubbish. Being honest though it was absolute shite.

What seemed to be a reasonably well executed 4-1-4-1 formation in the first half morphed into a pre-teen headless chicken run-around and hoof it display. After the game the players held up their hands and said they didn't follow instructions in the 2nd half. There was little or nothing to suggest that anyone was seeing that the plan wasn't being followed and, in turn, doing anything about it.

Against a team having a poor start to the season with new management and lots of player movements this performance can, at best, be looked on as a wake up call.

On to tomorrow night and a trip to Hythe Town, who have had a pretty dismal start to the season. They will presumably be looking forward to a first win tomorrow, this will be our 3rd midweek visit to Hythe so they know the score squad-wise. A number of changes, with at least 7 'regulars' not available to travel. Here is the squad:

Machlowski, Isabelle, Geall, le Prevost, Strawbridge, Winch (J), Mackay, Steel, de la Mare, Mahon, Fernandez, Winch (L) Young, McGrath.

There is enough there there to bring back 3 points but we might need to put formations that appeal to some purists to one side and just play a straightforward 4-4-2. Just a thought.

Keep it Green.

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Day on the South coast anyone?

There seems to have been a fair bit of wailing after the defeat to Folkestone about handball and the visitors' somewhat approach. The GFCTV highlights, to these eyes at any rate, suggest there was no handball, although watching live in the ground from many angles it would have looked like the arm was used to control the ball.

As for the physical (dirty?) approach we do seem to have been whining about this ever since season one back in the CCL. Now it could be that this is an asepect of the game of football (as it is played i the real world) that we simply haven't learnt/developed over the last 4 years. At the away games we find a healthy 'dirty Northern bastards' chant helps us deal with these situations, especially if we're on the South coast.

We do have a number of players who love mixing it a bit with the opposition but, if you're in the Garenne (as most are), you're probably not aware of that as most of the action seem to take place on the far side of the pitch near the dugouts.

If you're wandering why so much of our play happens on the far side, it's all for the benefit of Steve Sharman's copious note-taking. If play is too far from the dugout the notes may not be accurate and that could result in, heaven forbid, in a dog's breakfast of an inter-insular.

Anyway, 6 points from 9 isn't a bad return when we haven't really got into any sort of rhythm yet and we do have a chance to hit some kind of stride at Peacehaven on Saturday. They have a much changed squad from last year and have just 1 point from the first three fixtures. That said they appointed a new manager last week and this will be their first league game following training under the new regime.

We'll be in Brighton at about 10.45 and will head to the Railway Belle, which is a hop and a skip from the station, for light refreshment and a Spanish lesson. It's a short walk to get a bus to Peacehaven and they leave every 10 minutes (fare is £2.40). See the away days page for detailed travel info.

Both the Press and the Beano carried stories about Jack Boyle today. In a nutshell Tony Vance will be talking to him after the Peacehaven game with a view to getting him to sign. When asked, Tony Vance and Colin Fallaize have made it clear that meeting him at Gatwick is not an option, there has to be a commitment that fits the GFC ethos (which hasn't changed) and the ball is in his court as far as that goes.

As a player he would be an asset to the team and, being a Crapaud, he's well positioned to understand and deal with the kind of dirty underhand tactics touched on earlier.

See you Saturday.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

First off, just spotted an erroneous 'not' a few days ago when talking about the eggchasers moving their fixture to accommodate the revised kick off time for Folkestone's visit on Saturday. Should have said 'they've put their kick off time back to 7.30' not 'they've not put their kick off time back'.

Apologies for the rogue 'not'.

Last night at the ARS we entertained a severely depleted Carshalton Athletic and, as we fielded a strong squad on the back of an away win, GFC were strong favourites for a comfortable win. Seems like it was anything but however and we hear that if it was not for Chris Tardif being in superb form we would have been lucky to gain 0 points, let alone 3.

Seems like long hard looks and deep thoughts as to what didn't work and how to rectify it are the order of the day. Do that and dig deep before Folkestone arrive and we may well keep the points momentum going.

Football life could be worse however. Amazing as it might sound the Crapauds still seem to think following Gibraltar to FIFA's World Cup wonderland is the way to go. One of the requirements for admission to that 'elite club' is an 8000 all seater stadium.Bearing in mind the JFA couldn't get planning permission for a 6 foot wooden fence around Springfield, don't expect to see the Crapauds playing the Faroe Islands any time soon.

Despiete a price tag of well in excess of £500k yet to hear a good word about the new artificial Springfield.

Players complain of the burns cause by the artificial surface. Fans moan about the lack of viewing opportunitites. Doesn't seem to be a stadium fit to host the Muratti if you ask me.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!


Tuesday, 11 August 2015


Chris Tardif was quoted in the Press today saying that the poor starts seen at home in the last couple of seasons is something that needs to change 'because we need to be in the mix from the very start'.

He went on to say 'we need to first and foremost make ourselves difficult to beat but also make the most of the vast attacking flair we have to mean that teams are worried about coming to Guernsey to face us'.

The first team to visit is Carshalton tomorrow and they have good cause to be a little concerned. Having been well beaten by Dorking Wanderers on Saturday they expect to have 7 first team regulars missing when they make the trip tomorrow.

Somewhat refreshingly their manager Matt Howard told the Sutton Guardian 'it is what it is'. In other words defeat tomorrow won't seal their fate, a point that some other clubs would do well to take note of. Rest assured they will do everything they can to get something out of the game.

For our part we need to make a statement that Footes Lane will be a fortress this season.

Here are the results from the Isthmian South tonight:-

Chatham 1 South Park 2 ; Chipstead 1 Three Bridges 1 ; Dorking W 2 Peacehaven 2 ; Hythe 0 Herne Bay 2 ; Molesey 4 Walton Cas 1 ; Ramsgate 1 Faversham 0 ; Sittingbourne 1 Hastings 3 ; Tooting & Mitcham 0 Corinthian Cas 3 ; Whitstable 0 Folkestone Inv 1 ; Whyteleafe 0 East Grinstead 1.

Get down the Lane tomorrow and play your part in building the FortrARS.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Monday, 10 August 2015

A fresh approach to away days...

With Three Bridges fancying themselves for the play-offs, at least, following a good pre-season the forecast snow was nowhere to be seen, replaced instead by a generous helping of hot sun.

The first Llama Express of the season  made swift progress from Victoria and a short hop and a skip from Three Bridges station we found ourselves in the Snooty Fox. Big and busy with no respite from football on TV and a decent enough choice of fine ales and continental lagers (Babycham and white wine was available for 'the ladies'). All in all, despite our previous reservations, a good watering hole on the way to a game.

Jubilee Field looks just as it looked on our previous visits. The clubhouse with it's '80s social club feel (nothing wrong with that though), a teabar serving an above average bacon cheeseburger (ok, the average product in football grounds isn't great but I quite liked this one) and a hard bumpy pitch, which didn't look as if it had been watered since the great snowstorm in January.

Before kick off I asked Sticks if the club was concentrating on improving away results. Yes he replied. Not for me to reveal the formation here but suffice to say the aim is to restrict the number of goals conceded whilst looking to create and score on the break. Don't expect to see us playing 3-5-2 on Tuesday night in Surrey for a while.

The match saw the home side enjoy the majority of possession and it took us a while to get going in the first half. We did create the best opportunities however, including Zico going close from just outside the box and Rocco missing what would normally be bread and butter to him from a few yards out.

There was some frustration behind the goal caused by balls seemingly played into empty space but this was probably symptomatic of a move away from the gung ho approach we've seen in the past. The break through came when Ross Allen went out to the left to pick up a pass that followed a superb challenge by Gus Mackay midway into our own half. Dom Heaume moved in to the fill the void and Rocco crossed for Dom to tap in from a couple of yards out.

Second half was a bit different with the hosts pressing hard but the lads worked tirelessly in defence, the only real slip coming just before the equaliser when we were, collectively, a bit slow to react.

No one foresaw the finale however with Cockers ghosting into space in the box to connect his head to a  Crusher McGrath corner, finishing with some aplomb it has to be said.

All things considered a very good three points and, hopefully, a taste of things to come more often than not this season.

Elsewhere there were notable wins for Dorking Wanderes (4-0 away to Wednesday's opponents Carshalton Athletic), Chatham (4-0 away at Peacehaven) and Hastings (6-0 home to Chipstead). Probably need to note that Peacehaven have lost a good number from last season's squad and Chipstead played 25 minutes with 9 men due to injuries, although Hastings were well in control and had the game all but won by then).

Finally, the answer to the question 'why is the Folkestone game kicking off at 4pm?'. Our understanding is that Folkestone requested an overnight stay on the Saturday (which they are paying for incidentally) and a slightly later flight from the UK. The mid-morning flight turned out not to be an option so they're on a lunchtime flight making 4pm the earliest practical kick-off time. And, yes, the eggchasers are playing on the same day but they've not put their kick off time back to 7.30.

If only Folkestone away would kick off at 3 so Ash could look on in horror whilst seafood is devoured over lunch at the harbour side.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Just like Christmas...

I know I'm not the only one to have so far struggled to be enthusiastic about the coming season - it still seems like early Summer after all. Anyway, just like at Christmas time, with just one more sleep I'm suddenly in the mood.

Meeting time arranged with the usual ne'er do wells at Victoria before getting a train and a nice cup of tea, or something else, at the Snooty Fox before all the glitz and glamour of the Isthmian South and the Jubilee Field.

The squad due to make the trip is:

Tardif, Machlowski, le Prevost, Strawbridge, Cochrane, Dodd, Mackay, de la Mare, Black, Fernandez, Loaring, Rihoy, Heaume, McGrath, Allen.

The inclusion of Guille Fernandez so soon after his arrival means he's either pretty good, we don't have a big pool of available players, or maybe a bit of both. Guess we'll find out tomorrow....

With the BBC having to scrimp and save in the next few years, Radio Guernsey is doing its bit by recruiting Mr Media Tart himself to do the commentary on tomorrow's match. Think you need to travel by train with us for this one Matt so we can ensure you arrive in tip top shape just like at Spalding, which seems so long ago now.

Craig the Peg will be filming the game using his very big phone and streaming to the world. He's using a different service provider than last year and the quality does seem a lot better (we might have to give Craig a couple of settlers before the game to reduce the camera wobble though). Here's the web address you need to visit to view:

Worth running alongside Mr T's commentary.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Predictions anyone?

With the boss hitchhiking around Italy on his holidays it was down to Steve Sharman to oversee the pre-season friendlies and they served their purpose, apparently.

Unless the Dear Chairman finds a good few quid under a bush each Summer pre-season preparation for GFC is never going to be ideal and,notwithstanding a gold medal, the Island Games followed by a couple of matches a month later probably falls a fair way short of ideal.

The proof of the pudding will start to be seen on Saturday at Three Bridges (check the away games tab for the essential information to help you through the day) but if previous seasons are anything to go by the lads will have to dig deep and pull together to get through the first few weeks of the season in some semblance of order.

The highlight of last weekend was the inauguration of the Mike Thomas Trophy, a fitting tribute to a man who gave a lot to Guernsey football and,in particular, the GFC players. So do it for Chappie lads.

It's that time of year when we all try to predict where things will end up at the end of April. Ross Allen told the BBC that a play-off place is the minimum goal for the season and online bookie BetVictor has us at 8-1 to win the league (they do each way for a top 3 finish).

I'll take a play-off spot then an honourable defeat thank you very much. Why not promotion you may well ask and I will respond that I don't believe we're equipped to survive at step 3 yet.

If we could go through a season with having our strongest match day squad available every week then, yes, we'd have a good chance but such good fortune is unlikely. For recent examples of how the overall quality slips when that first choice team, playing in it's optimum formation, isn't on the pitch please refer to the Muratti or the Island Games semi-final.

That's not a criticism of the lads in the squad by the way, just a recognition that step 3 is the point where the league becomes packed with players with a background in football academies, something that's still a work in progress for Guernsey.

Looking longer term Tony Vance believes that step 2 is a realistic aim (in 15 years or so). Speaking to fans after the final game of last season at Herne Bay he spoke highly of the youngsters coming up through the GFA's academy system.

He also revealed his belief that if we're not out of the Isthmian South in 4 years time that'll be it. In other words we need to be established at step 3 for sponsors and the paying public to maintain an interest. If  he's right some will think we might as well pack up now.

But if we did we'd never know - and therein lies the adventure.

Keep it green.

Allez les Verts!!

A sausage, a wrap and a mild mannered janitor.

With the trials and tribulations of last season fast receding and o the back of three impressive displays, unbeaten against teams expected ...