Muratti 2023: Jersey win 2-1 in Cassidy's last game

Muratti 2023: Jersey win 2-1 in Cassidy's last game
Jersey came from behind to win 2-1 at Footes Lane - photo credit Andy Dovey

If Jersey boss Martin Cassidy had scripted his final game in charge, it wouldn't have been too far off this. Winning the Muratti. Again. In Guernsey. And having to battle back from behind at half time to earn it. Yes, this wasn't the finest performance a Cassidy side has ever produced, but the best team won, and on Muratti day it's all about winning.

Will Fazakerley's header midway through the first half had put Guernsey in front at Footes Lane, but the hosts then went into their shell as Jersey dominated territory and possession.

Luke Campbell's penalty soon after the break pulled the visitors level before Campbell popped up again, this time at the far post, to net the winner with quarter of an hour of the 90 to go.

Nine minutes of added time were signalled by the referee, he ended up playing 15, and right at the end Guernsey thought they'd equalised through Muratti legend Ross Allen. His volley was ruled out for offside, much to the disappointment of most of the 2,000+ supporters. Jersey and Cassidy could breathe a sigh of relief, a fourth Muratti win in a row either side of the pandemic was in the bag and the Vase was heading back with the team on the evening ferry.

Cassidy took over as manager from former Aston Villa boss Brian Little in 2016.

Cass confirmed last month that he'd be stepping down after the match for family and work reasons, ending a near seven-year spell in charge of the men's representative side. He departs, just months before the Island Games, with a Muratti record to envy.

"It's a feeling of total satisfaction," he said at full time. "I thought we put the right shape, and the 4-3-3 worked well. In the second half, in particular, we were really strong and if there is any disappointment it's that we could maybe have scored two or three more.

"I think the old me might have gone in [at 1-0 down at half time] and got the hairdryer out and had a few boots flying about, but the players didn't deserve that. We gave them a lot of information this week and they've got to digest that and then understand it and then try and work it through.

"In the first 20 minutes we created the openings we wanted but we didn't have the quality in the wide areas. In the second half we stayed calm and composed, building it up maybe an extra four or five passes before we went forward. We've got good players, it's not all about me in getting things right, the players are really intelligent, and they proved that today.

"I would like to also dedicate our win to the late, great Mickey Porter. He dedicated so much time for junior players in Jersey over the years and that's for Mickey and his family."

Martin Cassidy with the Muratti Vase
Martin Cassidy has overseen a period of Muratti dominance for Jersey

The match had been delayed by 15 minutes because of a late ferry arrival, but those who made it for kick off were treated to a frantic opening. Both sides had early goals disallowed for offside. Jacob Fallaize at one end, already with his head bandaged Terry Butcher style, and Lorne Bickley at the other.

Euan Van der Vliet saved superbly at point-blank range to keep out Fazakerley's effort, but couldn't stop the same player from heading in the opener from a corner on 25 minutes.

The visitors started the second half brightly, and got their reward when Keanu Marsh was penalised for a clumsy challenge on James Carr in the box. Josh Addison got a hand to Campbell's penalty but couldn't keep it out. 1-1 and game on.

Not since 2014 has there been more than one goal separating these two sides, and this was another closely fought battle. But it was Jersey who certainly looked the stronger as the game wore on, and they deservedly took the lead when Francis Lekimamati's cross found its way to the far post for Campbell - still forward from a corner moments earlier - to poke home.

Substitute Karl Hinds, not in the starting line-up despite 40+ goals this season, could have wrapped things up deep into stoppage time but hit his shot straight at Addison. It looked like he might rue that missed opportunity when Allen's strike found the net in the dying seconds, but the assistant's flag dramatically put an abrupt halt to any thoughts of extra time.

The 2-1 triumph means Jersey have now won six of the last seven men's Muratti Vase finals. A real period of dominance, and Cassidy can sign off a proud man.

Read the report from the women's Muratti match

Guernsey: Josh Addison, Keanu Marsh, Jamie Dodd (c), Tom Vaudin, Jacob Fallaize, Kieran Mahon, Charlton Gauvain, Dave Merris, Sam Murray, Ross Allen, Will Fazakerley. Substitutes: Jason Martin, Tom Dodds, Joe Alvarez, Matt Loaring, Liam Mahon, Keene Domaille, Danny Hale.

Jersey: Euan van der Vliet, Jonny Le Quesne, Jay Giles, James Queree (c), Luke Campbell, Joe Kilshaw, Francis Lekimamati, Toby Ritzema, Lorne Bickley, Adam Trotter, James Carr. Substitutes: Pierce Roche, Harry Curtis, Ben Le Rougetel, Miguel Carvalho, Karl Hinds.