Late blast lifts Jersey into Muratti final

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In gale force conditions and on a bumpy Mount Hale pitch, the match was still in the balance with 18 minutes remaining, but Jersey scored three goals in a four-minute period to finally dampen Alderney’s spirits.

Had the visitors taken their chances in the opening 15 minutes the game could have been all over much earlier, but Ross Crick volleyed wide and spooned another chance over while Peter Vincenti junior just failed to get on the end of one of several fine crosses into the penalty area by Jon Fitzmaurice.

Shortly after the interval nervous Jersey Football Association officials were undecided whether it was extra-time and penalties or extra-time and a replay but soon after Jersey hit their second goal to end that conversation.

In the end it was a job well done by Jersey, in conditions described by Alderney officials and former home team players as probably the worst seen for a semi-final.

Danny Craven scored twice and new caps Scott Devlin and Vincenti once each, with Alderney having the cheek to equalise with a rare effort on goal, Liam Davey just getting enough on his effort for the ball to loop away from Jersey goalkeeper Jimmy Styles eight minutes before half time.

It sent the Alderney faithful, again decked out in a sea of blue and white, into raptures and raise their hopes of a first ever victory against Jersey in the history of the competition.

Craven had earlier given Jersey the lead, on 17 minutes, when, after controlling the ball well just outside the penalty area, he turned and his shot went through the legs of Alderney goalkeeper and manager Paul Williams.

It was a bad goal to concede but it was soon forgotten when Davey equalised.

Jersey, now with wind behind them, created three chances in the opening six minutes after the resumption, the best pushed away by Williams from Vincenti.

After Dave Brodie hit a rising shot over, Williams was again at his best to dive full stretch to his left to thwart the lively Vincenti again.

Jersey eventually got their second goal in the 72nd minute.

A corner was cleared but when the ball came back in it bobbled around before Devlin hit the target.

A minute later it was 3-1 and what a goal.

Vincenti won the ball just inside Alderney’s half and after Crick and Craven had exchanged passes Vincenti capitalised from eight yards.

Vincenti then had a shot graze the crossbar but in the next minute it was 4-1 as Craven ghosted in to confidently side-foot home his second goal.

Substitute Jack Cannon crashed a free kick against the crossbar as Jersey took full control and late on Vincenti also hit the bar from a header while substitute Dave Le Roux’s fine run finished with Williams pulling off another fine stop.

Jersey manager Peter Vincenti said: ‘It went to plan, we kept the ball well for long periods and if we’d scored early and taken our chances we could well have reached double figures.

‘Our attitude and commitment were spot on, the players were given instructions and they carried them out well.

It was very difficult playing against the wind and I would have been pleased to have been one-up at the break but they equalised and I was still happy with the score line.

‘It took us ten minutes or so to adjust to playing with the wind and in the end we ran out worthy winners.

‘Alderney were rather physical at times but strangely it was us who picked up most of the cautions.

I couldn’t quite work that one out.’ Alderney manager Williams said: ‘I thought we did very well first half but in the second half it was extremely tough.

The boys battled hard throughout and unfortunately we were hit by three goals in a short period.

‘I let the boys down for the first goal, it would have been great to have gone in one-up at half time but it was not to be.’ JFA president Charlie Tostevin said: ‘Four years ago we had a tough game because of a strong wind and this time it was far, far more difficult.

‘I can honestly say that until we got our second goal I wasn’t comfortable whatsoever.

‘Conditions were a big leveller but I’m proud of our guys as they tried hard throughout to play football.’ Alderney were well served in defence by the tough-tackling Simon Benfield while midfielder Steve Concanen had a fine contest in midfield against Jersey’s Dom Maher.

Alderney: Paul Williams; Peter Tugby, Kevin Gentle (Matt Aldcroft, 81), Simon Benfield, Jason Atkins, Emile Cosheril; Angus Macdonald, Steve Concanen, Chris Johns, Liam Davey; James Walker (Michael Bohan, 61).

Cautioned: Benfield.

Jersey: Jimmy Styles; Carl Eubank (Bradley Vowden, 84), Scott Devlin, Stuart Andre; Dominic Maher, Dave Brodie, Peter Vincenti, Jon Fitzmaurice (Jack Cannon, 75); Danny Craven; Chris Andrews, Ross Crick (Dave Le Roux, 84).

Cautioned: Maher, Vincenti.

Officials (all Guernsey): George Jennings, Peter Davison, Andy Priaulx and Ted Teed.

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