Back to winning ways….
Following numerous cancellations due to the recent wet weather, the first team returned to league action on Saturday to record an excellent win against an always competitive St Ouen and effectively consolidate third position in the league.
With regular goalkeeper, Jamie Brewster, sporting red and white striped speedos on holiday in Barbados, we were forced to turn to club stalwart Chris Corfield to do a job between the sticks. Connor Maher and Kamen Nafkha returned to their usual full back positions, and with Captain Chris Andrews dropping into centre back alongside Jack McKenna, the team lined up with a solid defensive unit. Ollie Thompson, Terry Bennion and seventeen year old Josh Daniel made up the engine room in midfield, with Dan Romeril and Francis Lekimamati on either wing, supporting an impressive Lorne Bickley, also U18, who led the line superbly all afternoon.
The first goal of the game came midway through the first half following excellent work by Ollie Thompson who robbed possession from his opposite number, skipped over another tackle and calmly slotted Romeril through on goal. With pace and energy to burn, Romeril latched onto Thompson’s pass and coolly slotted the ball past the oncoming keeper and into the empty net.
A second goal wasn’t far behind when good approach play resulted in Bickley picking the ball up on the edge of the St Ouen area. After beating a number of defenders, but being forced out wide, the ball broke kindly and with a cool head he delivered an inch perfect cross for the oncoming Bennion to head home with a forceful header beating the helpless keeper.
Following the restart, St Ouen were always going to come out guns blazing, but some resilient and brave defending kept their efforts on goal to a minimum largely due to the efforts of Chris Andrews and Jack McKenna in the heart of the defence. Andrews was outstanding, dominated this area of the pitch with apparent ease, using his pace, strength, height and experience. McKenna likewise, had his best game since returning to the club at Christmas in what looks like a promising partnership in the making.
St Ouen’s response inevitably came from a set piece. A diagonal free kick from just inside the Wanderers half was enough to beat the efforts of Corfield leaving Stuart Danes to nod in at the far post.
But the game was put beyond St Ouen’s reach shortly after when good work on the right by substitute Jamie Savory and Romeril resulted in a cross being fired across goal for Bickley to prod the ball into the goal from close range
Although Josh Daniel and Lorne Bickley both deserve praise for excellent individual performances, the team as whole played very well. Andrews in particular was superb and Chris Corfield deserves a special mention of thanks for stepping up to help and playing in goal. After a dubious start, his positioning, kicking, handling and command of his penalty area was first rate considering he had been cajoled out of ‘retirement’.
With Jersey Scottish dropping points to Trinity, should St Paul’s beat Jersey Scottish this Saturday the equation is very simple. Win our last five league games and we win the league by a point. We couldn’t … could we?!!