Gunners Grind Out Win In Cagey Cup Affair

It was a thrilling encounter on the Garrison Field.

It was a thrilling encounter on the Garrison Field.

FT Woolpack Wanderers 0 – 1 Garrison Gunners

HT Woolpack Wanderers 0 – 1 Garrison Gunners

Sunday, 6th January 2018, Garrison Field, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly.

League Cup – Leg 1

Gunners take a 1-goal lead into second leg of League Cup. 

Only goal of the game on the game came 30 minutes in when Jack Handy lobbed Wanderers keeper Eugene Hogan.

Jack Handy had the chance to double the Gunners advantage from the penalty spot but the penalty went out off the post.

Wanderers’ keeper Eugene Hogan made a handful of fine saves in the second half to keep the Wanderers in the tie.

Second leg is scheduled to take place on Sunday 27th January.

Woolpack Wanderers

Garrison Gunners

J Handy (30’)

Match Report By Will Lethbridge.

The Garrison Gunners ground out a 1-0 win in the World’s Smallest Football League’s, League Cup first leg courtesy of Jack Handy’s first-half lob.

In a tight and cagey affair, the Gunners take a 1-goal advantage into the second leg. They might look back on the first leg as a missed opportunity as they had some great opportunities, including a missed penalty to extend their lead. 

Conditions: 

It was overcast, dry and a rather mild January morning with hardly any wind. With the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, the conditions were perfect. A big thank you to the Council’s Grounds Team for cutting the grass. 

Team news: 

In general good numbers this week. The Gunners were able to recall Dan Ware and Lee Eaton who went straight into the starting eleven. Will St Pier was also back in between the sticks for the Gunners. Russell Hutchins and Joe Greenlaw were available for the Wanderers

As far as absentees go, Lewis Brown was away for the Gunners and goalkeeper Kane Goddard was unavailable for the Wanderers. 

Wanderers box-to-box midfielder Jack Stone and Gunners centre forward Joel Ware are away for 6 weeks on “warm weather training” in Thailand. I’m sure they’re training hard and will come back for the end of the season in peak condition! 

Format: 

The World’s Smallest Football League - League Cup is a two-game tournament played annually by the Garrison Gunners and the Woolpack Wanderers. 

The first leg takes place on the Sunday morning, of the weekend of the third round of the English FA Cup. The second leg is played three weeks later. 

Standard football rules apply. Away goals don’t count as both teams play on the same pitch! 

Should both teams be level on aggregate at the end of the second leg, 30 minutes of extra time will be played. 

If the tie is level at the end of extra time a penalty shootout will decide who wins the League Cup. 

Match Report:

The Gunners won the coin toss and elected to kick downfield (towards the main entrance). 

Both teams got stuck in from the first whistle and the game had that cup match feeling. It was tight and cagey with tackles flying in with both teams trying to get their foot on the ball and produce some meaningful attacks. 

The Wanderers had a few attempts at goal from range but it was Gunners who were looking the most threatening on the break and forced keeper Eugene Hogan into action early on. 

It was a competitive game and there really wasn’t much between the teams.

A cross from Wanderers striker Sam James found Scott Reid. The forward leapt and headed the ball back across goal for it to go just over. It and wasn’t the easiest of chances. 

The Wanderers came close but Gunners keeper Will St Pier made a terrific double save. He, first of all, parried Scott Reid’s shot from the edge of the area and the denied Will Lethbridge with is feet. Great goalkeeping! 

The only goal of the game would come from the clearance. The Gunners keeper Will St Pier quickly distributed the ball out wide to Liam Greenlaw. The midfielder put a fantastic high ball over the Wanderers defence. Jack Handy made the run and found the space behind the defence and goalkeeper Eugene Hogan. The inform forward lifted the ball high, over the keeper and into the back the net. 

It was 1-0 to the Gunners. The Wanderers couldn’t believe what had just happened! 

Neither team would create too many further clear-cut chances in the later stages of the half but the Wanderers had a little more possession and knew they were still very much in the game. It set up an intriguing second half. 

Half Time: Woolpack Wanderers 0 – 1 Garrison Gunners 

The second half got underway at a good tempo with the Wanderers looking to get back in the game and they came incredibly close 5 minutes in. 

Scott Reid whipped in a dangerous ball from out on the right towards the back post. Hayden Simpson out on the left wing burst in at the back post and was agonisingly close to getting a touch on the ball. It would have been an almost certain equaliser! 

As the Wanderers pressed space was starting to emerge in the midfield and the Gunners were making the most of it and countering at every opportunity.

The Gunners thought they had got their break on the hour mark. Dan Ware who had a good game throughout was caught in the area by Gunners defender Ben Johnson. 

Referee Paul Charnock had no hesitation in pointing straight to the spot. Jack Handy stepped up and looked to double his and the Gunners advantage. He put the penalty to the right sending Eugene Hogan the wrong way only for the penalty to clip the post and go out for a goal kick. A lucky escape for the Wanderers who were living dangerously! 

The Gunners came close once again to extending their lead. A perfectly timed through ball was threaded to Jack Handy on the right-hand side of the area whose shot went narrowly wide of the near post.

The Wanderers were doing all they could to try and get back in the game but it was the Gunners who continued to mount pressure. 

Ethan Graham went on a mazy run and fired off a thunderbolt from just inside the area only for it to be saved in spectacular fashion by Eugene Hogan. 

In the later stages of the game, the Wanderers had only a few speculative attempts from distance and the game gradually slowed down before coming to a close in what as a gritty and intense cup encounter. 

FT: Woolpack Wanderers 0 – 1 Garrison Gunners 0 

Gunners carry a narrow advantage into the second leg. Will the Gunners rue those missed chances? Can the Wanderers pull back the deficit? 

We’ll find out on Sunday 27th January when one team will pick up the first bit of silverware of the season. 

Performances of note and other bits: 

Thanks to all for turning out and to Paul, Crockett and Chas for officiating. Also a special thank you to the Council’s Grounds Team for cutting the grass. 

Some excellent performances this week! 

Goalkeeper Will St Pier put in a solid performance for the Gunners. Not his busiest day but the young keeper made every save he had to and his distribution was superb. 

Anthony Gibbons had a great game at the back, intercepting passes, winning aerial duels, ensuring the Wanderers had few opportunities. 

Striker Jacky Handy scored the crucial goal that decided the game and was unlucky not add a few more. On another day he bags a hat trick! 

As far the Wanderers go, Hayden Simpson caused real problems for the Gunners throughout the game on the left wing. He made some brilliant runs and put in some fantastic crosses. 

Wanderers captain Rob Greenlaw worked hard alongside brother Joe Greenlaw in what was good old fashioned midfield battle. 

Man of the Match:

This week’s Man of the Match award goes to Wanderers keeper Eugene Hogan. The keeper put in half a dozen sensational saves to keep the Wanderers in the tie and they will know they can turn around the 1 goal deficit in the second leg.

Coming up next: 

It’s back to the league next week! 

League game 10

The Gunners are 9 points clear but the Wanderers won the last league game and will be looking to get back to winning ways and cut the Gunners lead to 6 points. 

We also have a film crew over next weekend so it’s shaping up very nicely indeed. 

10:30 KO - Sunday 13th January, Garrison Field, St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly.