For the second successive season Wanderers dumped Jersey Scottish out of the Charity Cup after a hard fought 2-3 win at Springfield to set up a semi-final date with St Brelade on Thursday evening.
Despite the warm conditions, Wanderers started off brightly with some smart passing and good movement in the attacking third of the pitch, while Scottish applied their usual longer game, endeavouring to get their pacey, dangerous attack of Wilson and Petulla in behind the defensive line.
With 10 minutes gone, good build up play down the Wanderers’ right provided the first clear cut chance of the game and when Chris Andrews, leading the line and a handful for the Scottish defence all night, won another aerial battle, Jamie Mourant was on hand to nod the ball between two defenders and run onto the loose ball before dispatching it past the keeper from just inside the penalty area.
The following period was a fairly even affair with both sides creating only half chances and the pattern of play tending to be good possession across the back lines and scrappy midfield battles.
The Scottish equaliser came with 15 minutes of the half remaining and can only be described as a soft goal to concede which the young goalkeeper Dan Birrell will be disappointed with. From a wide free kick, Birrell anticipated the likely cross, but spotting the keeper marginally out of position, Scottish’s Charlie Petulla smartly drove the ball towards the near side of the goal and despite Birrell’s best efforts the ball found its way into the bottom corner.
Worse was to come before the half-time break with Scottish left back, Sam Luce, making progress into the Wanderers penalty area. His slightly short pass, intended for forward Daryl Wilson, gave Wanderer’s centre back Jack McKenna enough encouragement to challenge and when he stretched to make the tackle, Wilson cleverly took a tumble leaving referee Steve Landick no choice but to point to the spot. Wilson duly converted the penalty with a firmly struck shot into the roof of the net to make the score line 2-1.
After an apparently more constructive half time team talk than to be expected after letting a seemingly comfortable lead slip, it was again Wanderers who started the second period on the front foot by reverting back to the game plan of shorter passes and possession based football. However, it was another dead ball situation that brought the equaliser. A well taken free kick on the right by the impressive Pierce Cummins was fizzed across the Scottish six yard box and after a contested challenge it was Ollie Thompson that reacted quickest to prod the ball into the goal to restore parity. A well-executed training ground set piece that the coaching team clearly enjoyed.
With the game now finely balanced it was Scottish that looked the most likely to regain the lead, creating a number of clear chances that really they should have converted. But, brave, committed defending continued to repel the increasing pressure with Charlie Payn clearing two chances off the line and Jack McKenna and Brad Stratford both making important blocks, tackles and headed clearances.
After a knee injury to Ollie Thompson, he was replaced by Terry Bennion who brought a calmness to proceedings and managed to restore some meaningful possession alongside the yet again outstanding Josh Daniels in the heart of midfield. As mentioned in previous reports, at such a young age, Josh continues to play with the composure of one far beyond his years and has already shown signs of developing into a top player.
Jamie Mourant, who ran himself into the ground and new signing Marco Da Assuncao with an assured performance at left back, were both replaced by Harrison Moon and Lucas Parker respectively, and the introduction of fresh legs paid dividends. With more of the ball, Wanderers now managed to regain a foothold in the game, giving the tireless Kamen Nafkha and Charlie Payn better opportunities to exploit the space that was now available as the temperature and energy sapping surface began to take its toll on all concerned.
On 85 minutes, the breakthrough finally came. Another magnificent delivery from Pierce Cummins, this time from a corner, was whipped into the danger area and it was Harrison Moon, sporting bright orange boots, that beat his marker and stooped to direct a glancing header past the helpless defenders and keeper for what would ultimately be the winning goal.
As expected, the remainder of the match was largely Scottish launching the ball from deep in an attempt to find a last gasp equaliser, but some further solid defending and a well organised shape seen Wanderers through to the final whistle and book their place in the semi-final.
JTC JWFC: Birrell, Cummins, Da Assuncao (Parker), McKenna, Stratford, Daniels, Andrews, Mourant (Moon), Thompson (Bennion), Payn, Nafkha. Unused Subs: O’Connell, Seller.