In the first of the season’s competitive games, Wanderers, fielding four new signings in the starting line-up, eventually cruised to a comfortable 7-1 win in the first round of the Charity Cup on a glorious evening at JTC Park.
On an exquisitely presented pitch, thanks to all the hard work done by Julian Wright and Shaun A’Court, the conditions were perfect and conducive to quick passing football that was the obvious game plan from the off.
Young gun, Dan Birrell, now first choice keeper, Pierce Cummins, Brad Stratford, Charlie Johnson and Lucas Parker made up a secure defensive back line. Declan O’Connell and Chris Andrews, sitting slightly deeper provided and platform for a fluid, offensive unit of Jamie Mourant, Charlie Payn and Kamen Nafkha, with Harrison Moon leading the line.
After dominating the opening exchanges, the break through predictably came after 15 minutes when Moon did well to flick on a header to the lively Mourant who ran into space on the right, committed the Grouville defence before sliding a perfectly weighted pass across the box for Payn to calmly sweep home into the bottom left hand corner.
A minute later, after good interplay on the edge of the Grouville penalty area, Nafkha found himself baring down on goal and, after neatly rounding the on-coming keeper, coolly rolled the ball into the empty net.
At this point, Grouville would have been fearing a cricket score, but against the run of play, their unit of a man, Glazebrook, latched onto a loose ball in midfield and powerfully despatched it into the roof of the Wanderers goal, leaving Birrell with no chance.
An excellent run from deep by Andrews was picked out by the impressive Payn, who clipped the ball beyond Grouville’s rear guard and into his path, leaving the Captain to meet the ball at pace and instinctive lift the ball over the keeper to restore a two goal cushion.
Good work on the right hand side provided the opportunity for Cummins to deliver yet another quality cross, and this time Harrison Moon was on hand to direct a firm downward header between the keepers legs to take the score to 4-1 at half time.
Making three changes at the interval, Thompson, Daniels and another new signing, Marco Da Assuncao replaced O’Connell, Parker and Moon. All three made a positive impact with Thompson – his usual industrious self – and Da Assuncao showed impressive pace and delivery from the left, whilst Daniels put in another assured performance for one so young and clearly demonstrating his potential.
It was Thompson that added to the scoring with a powerful free kick from the edge of the area that left the Grouville goal keeper rooted, and with the game now all but done, there was an inevitable loss of shape to the team with many keen to get themselves onto the score sheet.
Charlie Johnson made it 6-1 with a header at the far post from and well worked set piece, and Thompson finished the rout, latching onto another excellent diagonal knock from Cummins, skipped past the last man and smash the ball past the now dejected man between the Grouville posts.
First Team Coach, Rob Cameron, said: “We’re pleased with that and there are a lot of positives to take from the game. Naturally, a few things still things to work on and improve further but our fitness levels are good and we’re developing a slightly more dynamic formation that gives players more licence to express themselves and that will take time to bed in. All in all, a decent run out and we’re optimistic for the season ahead.”
JTC Wanderers now meet Jersey Scottish in the quarter final at Springfield on Monday 15th August, 6pm KO.