Firstly, congratulations and all good wishes to our former player Marian State on his recent wedding in his native Romania and congratulations also to Steve Concanen who was part of the Guernsey FA side that recently defeated the Hampshire Premier league in the FA Inter League Cup. The score was five one and that accurately reflected the game.
On the footballing side the first week of the month slightly dampened the euphoria of October as a one nil defeat at home to St Martins coupled with other results meant we dropped to third place in the table, level on points with Northerners but a point behind St Martins who have a game in hand. Two games in midweek saw Northerners gain three more points at Rovers expense while St Martins were held to a three all draw by Belgrave Wanderers – a good point for the latter. Alderney kept up the pressure on the Saturday with a three to win over Sylvans at Mount Hale, but it was far from easy. We were two nil down at the break before goals from Dante Walker and a Ross Benfield penalty bought the scores level and a late Steve Concanen header secured the points. The game finished in an unfortunate manner with red cards reducing both sides to ten men. With neither St Martins nor Northerners in action we now lie in third place, a point behind those two, with St Martins having a game in hand. The third Saturday of the month saw us travel to Port Soif to meet Rovers with the outcome sadly the same as last season – a three two defeat. A Joe Blackham goal gave us the lead only for Rovers to score twice before a penalty from Ross Benfield levelled matters only for Rovers to score the winner. St Martins retain their position at the top of the table, and we drop to fourth though Manzur in second place have played three games more than the sides around them.
So, to the last weekend of the month with the clocks going back and Alderney engaged on one of their Friday night/Saturday lunchtime double headers and with two more of the prospective table toppers, Northerners and St Martins, meeting at Northfields. Alderney opened the weekend’s programme with a three two victory over Vale Recreation at Corbett Field that was perhaps more emphatic than the score line suggests. Vale took an early lead before the final ten minutes of the first half in effect decided the game. A fierce Josh Concanen free kick rebounded off the crossbar with Josh McCulloch tucking home the loose ball and the hard-running Joe Blackham made it two with neat control and a cool finish. McCulloch added a third – another cool finish – before Vale reduced the deficit with a header seconds before the halftime whistle, Alderney had the better of the second half with only some inspired, and sometimes fortunate, goalkeeping preventing further scores and despite a rather nervy final ten minutes Alderney ran out deserved winners. On to one o’clock on Saturday and a visit to The Track to meet a Belgrave Wanderers side that, judging by their results, looked to have improved on last season. This time Alderney scored first after seventeen minutes as John Adamson made ground down the right and his cross was partially controlled by Josh McCulloch and turned in to the net by Joe Blackham. The yellow shirted visitors largely dominated the remainder of the half and doubled their advantage five minutes before the break when a superb through ball from Dante Walker allowed Blackham to beat the advancing keeper. They had a chance to increase their lead immediately on the re-start when McCulloch chased a through ball and was rather cynically bought down from behind by a defender. Referees have more leeway now as regards “punishment” for penalty offences but on this occasion a yellow card did not appear sufficient especially as the usually reliable Ross Benfield missed the spot kick. The Wanderers keeper dived to save the kick and bravely saved the follow up but was injured – knocked out – in the process. This necessitated a call for an Ambulance and a forty minute plus delay in the game with the situation well handled by the match officials and players. Everyone connected with Alderney Football Club wishes the injured player a full and speedy recovery. The delay appeared to affect the visitors more – tired legs having to start again – and the home side pulled a goal back some fifteen minutes from time with a header following a free kick. The home side were reduced to ten men after a dismissal for two challenges, neither of which was as bad as that which conceded the penalty, and Alderney saw the game out for three more points and the completion of a satisfactory weekend.
With Northerners beating St Martins four two the top of the table as October changes to November reads: –
We have played more but have points in the bag as we enter November and a month with very few fixtures.
Thanks to all for the weekend.