Culkin happy with progress despite shortage of goals

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The veteran of the squad, at the age of 31, showed that he still has the quality in front of goal as he hit home a right foot volley from 18 yards for what turned out to be the winning goal against Rhodes, beaten finalists as hosts two years ago.

And the strike and the performance delighted caretaker manager Craig Culkin.

He said: ‘It was a fantastic team performance and a great goal. The midfield and the strikers all worked hard and with the defence playing well as a unit they protected goalkeeper Andy Bird well and he only had one save to make throughout.

‘However, we should have added to our tally; just like the previous day when we scored just the one goal to beat Saaremaa. On reflection in both games we should now be looking at five or six goals scored if we had taken our chances.

‘Craig Russell hit a post in the second half and Rhodes had two chances too but we managed to clear the ball off our goal line for one and with the other they too struck a post.

‘We played some lovely football and Russell Le Feuvre and Stuart André held things together very well at the back supported well by full-backs James Quérée and Jack Cannon.

‘Rhodes did cause us a few problems with their set-pieces early on but we were able to sort that out very quickly. We lacked a bit of pace in midfield and we looked a little vulnerable so after Dave Watson was cautioned I took him off after around 35 minutes.

‘Chris Andrews came on and he turned in an unbelievable performance. His energy and desire was first class and when he got on the ball it looked like we were playing with three extra players!

‘It was a competitive game and although we had players cautioned we did play with cool heads and the referees we’ve had so far have been absolutely superb. I made several changes from the previous game and that’s good because I’ve been able to rest players and that also means we have four who are still fresh because they’ve not featured in either match yet.’

Victory for Jersey today against the Isle of Wight will put them into Thursday’s semi-finals as group winners where they will oppose the winners of Group B – 2007 winners Gibraltar, Guernsey or Ynys Mon.

Jersey: Andrew Bird; James Quérée, Stuart André, Russell Le Feuvre, Jack Cannon; Craig Russell, Dave Watson, Luke Watson, Mark Lucas; Ross Crick, Jean-Paul Martin. Subs used: Chris Andrews, Ben Gallichan and Dave Le Roux.

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