Walton Casuals ended a tradition of heavy defeats in the Channel Islands with three goals before the break to sink Guernsey – who finished with just eight men.
The Stags have historically struggled at the Footes Lane Stadium after conceding 12 goals in three defeats from four ‘international’ trips, but goals from Youssef Bamba, Sean McCormack and Lartey Sarpong ensured a happy return flight.
Anthony Gale’s side looked sharp from the off and were awarded two penalties inside ten minutes. A clumsy challenge from Frank Tobin saw Bamba bought to ground, although Max Hustwick’s low-driven effort from the spot was saved by AFC Bournemouth loanee William Dennis.
The hosts felt that were reprieved from the drama, but just seconds later Sarpong was forced to the ground by William Dodds in the following attack. This time, Bamba stepped up confidently and blasted the ball past Dennis to take an early lead.
Walton looked confident in and out of possession and continued to have the edge on the Green Lions. Robbie Legg forced the occasional save out of Denzel Gerrar, and did see one opportunity ruled out for a clear offside.
He eventually struck after half an hour, an unfortunate slip from Harry Mills allowed Legg an almost identical chance – this time rolled past the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
But the Casuals still looked the better side in possession and required just three minutes to force a mistake from Jamie Dodd. A weak challenge on Toyosi Olusanya did little to halt an attack out wide, and the striker did well to find Sean McCormack running in at the near post.
The hosts were then deflated six minutes before the break, once again due to weak defending from the Guernsey back four. Miscommunication between players allowed Lartey Sarpong to work his way past Alex Le Provest and go one-on-one with the keeper, and he made no mistake in finding the net with the help of the far post.
Walton came out for the second half resilient at the back and happy to see the game out with a two-goal lead. Guernsey struggled to test Gerrar for the remaining 45 minutes, and it could have been seven or eight for the visitors.
Olusanya was unable to connect with a cross just yards from the goal, and substitute Jack Battie came close to adding to the scoresheet. Defenders Max Hustwick and Joe Hicks proved to be threats from corners, while Bamba and Alfie Taylor both had opportunities out wide – the latter impressed after coming off the bench.
Legg was looking to be Guernsey’s only real threat, but his game was ended prematurely after sustaining an injury after all three changes had been made. After landing awkwardly from a challenge on Harry Mills, he was stretchered off holding his knee.
The game soon went from back to worse for the hosts, with substitute Ryan-Zico Black seeing red and reducing his side to nine men. His swipe at Jack Battie caused a short delay as confrontations were ended and the red card was shown, although Battie also picked up a yellow for his reaction to the offence.
The Stags were happy to retain possession, and for the last 10 minutes Guernsey’s lack of numbers meant players lost all motivation in what resembled a training match rather than a competitive fixture.
And to conclude the nightmare for Guernsey, they were reduced to eight men for the final six minutes after Dodds limped off holding his hamstring.