Foootball:Jersey U18s edged out by Suffolk

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Only in the first five minutes did Jersey look nervous as they tried to settle against a lively, bigger team whose No 9, Dean Offord, headed goalwards after three minutes.His powerful effort hit the ground low to the left of ‘keeper Frazer Siddall, who could do nothing else but pick the ball out of the net.Against a weaker side it would have unsettled the opposition, but the longer the game went on, the more Jersey came back into the game and, on more than one occasion, they looked likely to score goals of their own.Chances, however, were few and far between for both teams, with Suffolk’s giant centre-backs looking dominant in their own 22, while Danny Hughes and David Syvret in Jersey’s defence snapped at the heels of the Suffolk attack throughout the game.And, the longer the game wore on, the more that Jamie Allan and Tom Poole took control of midfield.

So, it wasn’t until the 37th minute that Suffolk had another decent chance on goal when Siddall had to react quickly to deflect a ball over his net, again from Offord.For a brief period Suffolk took command, and twice in as many minutes Tom Clements and Ben Deacon had half-chances to score, but so, too, did Jersey, and a terrific cut inside by Allan deserved better fortune as he freed Ryan Durand, only for the referee to blow for a previous infringement.Meanwhile Brett Pitman was a constant thorn in the Suffolk defence with well-angled runs into the box, and the longer the game went on, the more that he and Peter Vincenti posed problems to the Suffolk ‘keeper.Both he and Pitman brought out decent saves from Liam Jones in the Suffolk goal and on the stroke of half-time a wicked shot by Vincenti skimmed the cross bar as he just fired over.So Jersey went into the break 1-0 down with one or two half-chances to their credit, before, after the break, the home side began to use the full width of the pitch in an effort to get the ball behind Nos 5 and 6 in the Suffolk defence.Their tactics, to push the ball wide, nearly paid off soon after half-time when first Richard Russell crossed the ball to cause panic in the Suffolk penalty area before Brett Pitman elected to go an extra yard when he had a clear sight of goal and should have shot.Jersey had upped the tempo, and while Suffolk were closing them down, seeming to have run out of attacking ideas of their own, after 65 minutes and for the second time in the game Jersey relaxed and thereby paid the price.Tom Clements, Suffolk’s No 6, captain, and English international, swept imperiously through on the left and fired in an unstoppable shot from fully 35 yards out which no ‘keeper could have saved, and the ball whistled into the right-hand corner of the net.The same player was to see a shot pushed on to and over the crossbar by Siddall 15 minutes later, but by now, Suffolk were content to hang on to their two-goal lead.Their twin attack force of Offord and Deacon now looked less menacing (both players were to be substituted), and after going into a two-goal lead it was frustrating that Suffolk’s game plan was to get players behind the ball with no real ambition to add to their score.It was a point that their manager, Danny Laws, made afterwards, when he said: ‘We don’t score many goals, but our team don’t let them in.’Jersey played really well.

Their No 4 (Jamie Allan) took control for long periods of the game and their No 3 (David Syvret) is an excellent footballer.’The difference between the two teams was our centre backs – having England players in your side can make that kind of difference.’Certainly, the second goal killed off the game as far as Jersey were concerned, but manager Jon Welsh wasn’t overly-disappointed by his team’s performance.’At this level you can’t allow for any lapse in concentration,’ he said, ‘otherwise they’ll score.

But, technically, I think we were as good as them.

They were organised and closed us down, but we had a better second half and I can’t fault the effort by our team.

They’ll learn from this, and this is a young side.

We’ll come again.’After this result Suffolk go on to play Middlesex, who beat Guernsey under-18s, in round three of the county Youth Cup competition.’I went over to see Guernsey against Middlesex,’ said Laws.

‘Having seen both sides play, Guernsey are nowhere near as good as Jersey at this level.

Full credit to the Jersey team.’Jersey: Frazer Siddall, Danny Hughes, David Syvret, Jamie Allan, Nathan Jégou, Tom Poole, Peter Vincenti, Jordan Lisle (Bradley Russell), Ryan Durand (Nathan Maguire), Brett Pitman, Richard Russell.Suffolk: Liam Jones, Jason Luciano, Rhys Barber, Craig Parker, James Patterson, Tom Clements, Danny Cornwell, Matt Buckle (Tom Bullard), Dean Offord (Rocky Holt), Ben Deacon, Ryan Hunn.

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