Jersey's men edge out Isle of Wight to make football final

Jersey's men edge out Isle of Wight to make football final
Luke Campbell was on target as Jersey booked a spot in the final - photo credit Scott Fusellier

Jersey's men reached the final of the Island Games for the first time since 2009, overcoming the Isle of Wight 3-2 in a memorable, topsy-turvy semi at The Track.

Luke Campbell's close-range strike had deservedly put Jersey ahead, but Jake Scrimshaw's penalty made it all square at the break as the Isle of Wight grew into the contest and the Channel Islanders lost their way.

Scrimshaw's sweetly-struck half-volley a minute after the restart nudged his side in front for the first time, but Sol Solomon slotted in the equaliser with half-an-hour to go.

Striker Lorne Bickley grabbed the winner, rounding off a lovely move, before Jersey saw out the last 20 minutes with relative ease to set up a gold-medal showdown with Ynys Mon on Friday (3.30pm) in a repeat of the 1997 final.

A victory for Jersey at Footes Lane would see the island's men crowned tournament champions for a record fourth time.

"It was a whirlwind," interim manager Elliot Powell told "We started really well and then in the ten minutes before half-time we just got sloppy and let them back into the game with a harsh penalty.

"Hindsy came on with a change of formation and he picked up a lot of the loose balls. I thought it was one-way traffic after that.

"We're delighted. We've got some sore bodies now, that was an absolutely bruising affair. I'm really, really proud and it's great to be guaranteed to take something home but we want to go all the way tomorrow."

Jersey crashed out in the group stage at their home Games in 2015, and also narrowly failed to make the latter stages of Gotland 2017 and the 2019 spin-off event in Ynys Mon.

Powell's side made a bright start to the semi-final, allowing the Isle of Wight very little possession in the opening exchanges, and went close through Bickley moments after Adam Trotter's shot from distance was pulled wide of the post.

The opener came on 19 minutes, when a corner from the right dropped to Campbell inside the six-yard box and the experienced defender swept it home, more than 12 years on from netting a stoppage-time Muratti equaliser at the same ground. What a servant he's been for Jersey on the big stage for over a decade.

Jersey had looked quicker and stronger than their opponents, who'd eliminated hosts Guernsey in the group phase. But, with half-time on the horizon, the Isle of Wight pulled themselves level from the spot. Jonny Le Quesne was penalised for handball right on the outskirts of the area, and Eastleigh striker Scrimshaw stepped up to dispatch the penalty, despite Euan van der Vliet getting a hand to it diving away to his right.

It was the first goal Jersey had conceded all tournament. Their early confidence in this game had seemingly deserted them, and half time came at a good time for them. Chance to regroup and go again. But the Isle of Wight picked up exactly where they'd left off, and Scrimshaw brilliantly fired in his second exactly 60 seconds into the second period.

Route to the final: Jersey 1-0 Gozo, Jersey 4-0 Menorca, Jersey 5-0 St Helena, Jersey 3-2 Isle of Wight.

It felt like there'd be more goals though, and just after the hour mark it was all square again. Bickley used his strength, found substitute Karl Hinds who demonstrated remarkable composure to lay the ball off for Solomon to slot home. 2-2. Some game this.

Jersey were soon back ahead when Bickley finished off an excellent flowing move, converting Francis Lekimamati's careful ball across the six-yard box. Anyone who'd seen the previous 70 minutes would have likely expected the game to swing back towards the Isle of Wight, another momentum switch would have been entirely in keeping with the contest.

But it didn't materialise, and, in reality, it was Powell's men who created a number of glorious chances to put the match to bed. They didn't, but it didn't matter. Jersey march on into their fourth men's final - they've won their previous three...