Although the final score suggested a comfortable win against a Sporting Academics side that are likely to struggle in the new league format, after a flat first half, an improved second half performance brought an avalanche of goals.
With captain Chris Andrews away, Paul McLauglin came into midfield alongside Oliver Thompson, Francis Lekimamati and Kamen Nafkha, with Jamie Savory and Lorne Bickley forming a developing partnership up front. Chris Mallet returned to the starting line up at right back following injury, with Brad Stratford, Clayton Romeril and Tommy Buchanan completing a back four in front of goalkeeper Jamie Brewster.
After taking an early lead, it seemed like we were going to be in for an easy afternoon but an air of complacency and some sloppy defending allowed Accies to equalise shortly afterwards. Further goals came but a mixture of individual errors and a lack of urgency allowed Accies to stay in the game and only an Oliver Thompson penalty in the final minutes of the first half allowed us to go into the break with a 4-2 lead. A further Accies goal in the early stages of the second half made matters worse, but with the score now at 4-3, it seemed to be the kick start that we needed to up our tempo and intensity.
The introduction of young Declan O’Connell brought a new lease of life to JTC Jersey Wanderers play and, with some sharp passing and improved quality, chances arrived. Evan Nobes and Harrison Moon, both also U18s, replaced Chris Mallet and Jamie Savory respectively with 30 minutes remaining and their fresh legs and eager running soon took its toll on a now tiring Accies defence.
Bickley, Savory and Nafkha bagged themselves two goals each with Thompson, O’Connell, Nobes, Moon, Stratford and a notable solo effort by Romeril adding to the total.
The result propels us to second in the league table with eight points from four games, four points behind leaders Jersey Scottish and ahead of St Ouen on goal difference.
Manager Andrew Johnstone said: “There were a few positives to take from today’s match. Lorne Bickley and Jamie Savory are starting to establish an understanding between themselves and some of their interplay was really good. It’s obviously pleasing to be able to include so many of the young lads in these games and see them start to influence things. I’m encouraged that goals came from all over the team but I’m disappointed to have conceded so many and in the manner that we did. I suspect some of lads had one eye on Jersey Live!”