CITY made hard work of this win, indeed at points in the first half it looked as if Westfield were on course to cause an upset. Only a fortunate refereeing decision prevented the home side conceding in the first ten minutes as the visitors worked hard all over the pitch to ensure Guildford could not get into their rhythm. Even going 1-0 up did not improve matters and it took a deadly double from new striker Sean Rivers to settle the tie (and the supporters nerves!)
In comparison with the game the previous Saturday this was a far more sedate affair as Westfield brought down only a handful of supporters and we were not having to run around like blue-arsed flies. A few last minute issues were quickly resolved and before we knew it the referee had blown his whistle to start the game.
To say that City were lacklustre in the first half would be an understatement. From the start Westfield set out their stall to try to stifle Guildford’s passing game and cut out the service to their forwards and initially their game plan worked well. The visitors had the better of the possession early on, winning a freekick within the first five minutes which they were unable to capitalise on. Against the run of play City managed to forge the first chance of the game however, Jamie King flicking the ball just wide of the post with the back of his head from a freekick in the 9th minute. The visitors responded and had every right to be aggrieved five minutes later after a perfectly good goal was disallowed for offside. The linesman thought the ball had come off a Westfield player rather than (as was actually the case) a City player prior to the lurking forward slotting home. Guildford did little to capitalise on their let off in the next five minutes as passes went astray and the visitors continued to cause problems.
Slowly but surely Guildford started to find their feet – Harrison finally got some space and tried a through-ball to Adesina which did not quite come off, in the 19th minute whilst Ben Rayner drove a shot just wide of the post a few minutes later. Westfield headed wide and tried their luck from long range but you sensed that the home side had finally remembered how to play football. The confirmation came in the 28th minute – Harrison Carnegie firing into the top corner from inside the area after the visitors had failed to clear their lines. Five minutes later, as Westfield, out of necessity, started leaving more gaps at the back, Sean Rivers was released down the middle but his shot was skewed horribly wide when it seemed easier to score. The visitors were not throwing in the towel however and two excellent passes down their right wing nearly allowed Ross Murray to go through on goal. Their best chance came in the 42nd minute after a freekick was conceded near the City byline. The ball was curled expertly across the face of goal but amazingly there was no outstretched boot to turn the shot home. Moments later former City man Lee Allum headed over from yet another freekick, however the scoreline remained 1-0 at the break.
Despite the small attendance, there were a large number of ground-hoppers at the Spectrum. First a programme collector who decided to buy 15 of the programmes that had been gathering dust on top of a cupboard for years – no-one ever wants to do that! Then there was a guy who had come all the way from Gloucestershire to watch City because his wife was singing at a venue nearby. Most amusingly of all their was a long haired Nantwich fan who started taking the mickey out of Jenny as soon as he found out she was a fellow Cheshire-ite, from a supposedly ‘posh’ area!! The Sweeney spent a lot of the game trying to perfect their chants – especially ‘Adesina’ to the tune of the Motown classic ‘Have you seen her’ – none other than the manager’s idea that one.
The referee blew to restart the game and we were all praying we would be offered better fare than we had witnessed in the first half. Initially at least this was not the case and Westfield picked up where they left off in the first half, stifling City at every turn. Sean Rivers did well to win a corner in the 53rd minute but predictably the ball was well cleared from the danger area. Three minutes later the visitors were celebrating yet another goal that wasn’t, although this time the ref got the decision right – a City defender was fouled prior to the ball being put into the back of the net. Neither of the two sides were able to forge any decent chances for the next ten minutes or so – a Rivers shot drifted well wide at one end whilst at the other a Westfield freekick was eventually cleared – before Elvis was fouled during a promising move. “Mr Cheaty!” yelled Jenny, although you sensed she may have used slightly stronger language had not the latest addition to the Pegman clan been within earshot.
The second goal finally came in the 67th minute. City won a corner and Sean Rivers did his target man thing, rising unmarked to head past Sion Gallent, whose fingertips could not quite keep the ball out. The visitors could have put themselves back into contention a minute later – a forward being released but firing behind from an extreme angle when he had just Anthony Hall to beat. Bridgeman then went on a rampaging run, tore into the box but similarly put his shot wide. Westfield were throwing more players into the attack at this point and finally the decisive blow was landed in the 76th minute – Sean Rivers beating the offside trap and firing into the top corner from inside the area. The floodgates now appeared to creak open and City started making a lot more chances – Harrison chipping the ball just over the bar after an intelligent pass by new man Tommy Carter and substitute Liam Hirrel wasting several freekicks in dangerous areas. No more goals were forthcoming however and the tie ended 3-0.
GUILDFORD CITY: A Hall; E. Defreitas; C. Knight; T. Penson; J. Thoroughgood; J. King; A. Bridgeman; B. Rayner (L. Hirrel, 75); S. Rivers (T. Carter, 77); H. Carnegie; G. Adesina (L. Banton-Brown, 71)
Subs not used: J. Turner; D. Burnett
WESTFIELD: S. Gallent; D. Sales; O. Dixon; B. Bartlett; D. Shutt; D. Thompson (A. Harding); M. Robson (G. Pummell); L. Allum; R. Murray (L. Cachia); L. Beale; D. Hartlebury
Subs not used: S. Collier
Booked: D. Shutt
Referee: S. Davidson