Their 3-2 win over Guernsey Northerners AC at Springfield on Saturday certainly wasn’t without incident.
Losing 2-1 at half-time and then, with 24 minutes remaining, down to ten men, they had to rely on some inspired defence, poor finishing by North and a goal against the run of play to run out the winners.
As North’s coach, Mick Le Prevost said: ‘We had 11 clear chances to their four.
The difference was that they scored with three of them, and we only scored with two.
On another day I would have expected at least eight of those chances to go in.
We missed the kind of chances we’ve been putting away regularly in Guernsey.’ Le Prevost was right about the number of chances his side had, although once Tommy Wigley had been sent off for a second yellow card following a dangerous tackle, the Accies played more composed football than at any other time during the match.
‘After the sending-off our players really knuckled down to it; Ben Gallichan in particular really sorted out the back line,’ said a delighted Accies’ manager, Bob Doran.
‘This was a leap in the dark for us, but I had confidence in the boys.
To win an Upton – I’m over the moon.’ The first goal came after 39 minutes of fairly dull play, with the Accies’ offside trap working particularly well but with the North’s defence looking solid.
However, a tantalising ball played in from the right was met with clinical precision by Gallichan who powered the ball into the net from eight yards out.
For the next five minutes, however, Accies were in complete disarray.
Dave Clarke had already made one save at the feet of Jon Loaring only seconds after the restart when the same player, put into space, had a shot parried a minute later.
The ball fell tantalisingly into the path of brother Matt, who tucked the ball into an empty net.
Within a minute North took the lead.
As a static Accies’ defence played the offside trap, a sweeping ball, from right to left, came to the unmarked Jon Loaring, who cooly slotted home to make it 2-1.
If it had been a fairly lacklustre first half in the second the Academics came out looking more determined to up the tempo and win the game.
Within six minutes they were level, when a constant thorn in the North’s side, Paul Dingle, ghosted into space on the left to slot home.
The same player turned provider midway through the second half when a cross into the penalty area found Ryan Ennis who took the ball with his back to goal, turned, and placed it effortlessly above a despairing William Woodford to make it 3-2.
With ten players only for the last quarter, the Accies’ defence creaked and rattled but, with Jamie Kyle, Sean Doran and Gallichan in resolute form, they held out for the win.
Even on the stroke of time North’s Naro Zimmerman missed, for the second time, an open goal, but as Le Prevost said: ‘I can’t argue with the result because Academics took their chances while we didn’t.’ Sporting Academics: David Clarke, Derek Pereira, Tommy Wigley, Jamie Kyle, Richard Blackburn, Sean Doran, Ben Gallichan, Ryan Ennis, Jamie Savory, Ben Blacker (Sean Ganley), Paul Dingle.
Guernsey Northerners: William Woodford, Miles Pengelley, Jamie Tolcher, Tom Jenkins, Jamie Dodd, Naro Zimmerman, Glyn Dyer, Alex Le Prevost, Bradley Le Sauvage, Jon Loaring, Matt Loaring.
Referee: Russell Barry.