CITY progressed to the 3rd round of the League Cup in style with this 5-1 demolition of CCL Division 1 side Warlingham. They started the match confidently – Rivers scoring after a freekick move straight off the training ground, yet the remainder of the half was pretty even and either side could have capitalised. The second half belonged to Guildford, however, as they stepped up a gear and well and truly put the tie to bed. Adesina finished from a freekick, minutes after the restart, with Cooper sliding home a 3rd and Elgar finishing clinically from a counter-attack. A superb cross allowed Bradnick to notch his first goal for City before the Hammers added some respectability to the scoreline with a fine strike from outside the penalty area.
We all converged on Merstham’s ground with plenty of time before kick off – no-one having gone to Warlingham’s old ground, although as usual Harrison Carnegie and Jack Turner managed to get lost!! There were concerns they would not make it in time for kick off but luckily the pair arrived in time to warm up and play. There was a good turn-out of supporters too – Mr Pegman, Eddie and Ros plus Matt H, the two Chris’s, Sam, (Mystic) Doug, Terry T and myself.
As mentioned, City started the match in the best possible way. A freekick was won near the edge of the area on City’s right wing and the ball was unexpectedly dinked to the far post. Sean Rivers latched onto the ball and half volleyed it into the roof of the net before anyone on the Warlingham team could react. I was later told that this move had been perfected in training. The home side were not disheartened however and quickly came back into the game – firing wide in the 14th minute after a decent move. The visitors responded with Adesina shooting on goal and seeing his shot deflected behind for a corner which was cleared by the Hammers’ defence. A fine cross from Elgar then narrowly missed the head of Rivers in the box. Another chance came the home side’s way in the 23rd minute – James Cecil heading wide from a good cross before Adesina once again saw a shot go wide of the mark.
Warlingham’s best chance of the first period came on the half hour mark – Danny McDiarmid was sent clear and seemed odds on to score but for a great save from Hall which saw the ball pushed behind, the corner being cleared. The home side continued to have chances and fired a freekick well over City’s bar, a minute or so later. Hammers’ right back, James Hodge then had a good headed chance shortly before being booked for deliberate handball in the 40th minute. The remainder of the half was uneventful – City having a lot of possession and firing some decent crosses into the Warlingham penalty area but without result.
So the match was clearly far from won at half time and we all trooped into the fine clubhouse desperately hoping that it would not go the way of 3 other cup ties this season – extra time! There was time to update the stragglers who had not made it to the game before the whistle blew for the second half.
There was one change after the restart – Anthony Bridgeman was brought on for Banton-Brown, Lance having been hobbling badly towards the end of the first half. He was later found to have broken a bone in his foot. Guildford started well, however, and quickly won a freekick after a City player was fouled on the edge of the box: the offender, Paul Stuart earning himself a yellow card. The ball was chipped into the area and headed on by Jamie King to Gabriel Adesina who finished at the far post. This second goal seemed to kill the home side’s spirit and suddenly it was all City. Ten minutes later, it was 3-0 – Warlingham earning another booking and conceding a freekick on the edge of the area. The ball was once again dinked in and somehow evaded every Hammers defender before Simon Cooper slid in to push the ball over the line.
The home side made a double substitution at this point – Robert Brown and Anthony Williams joining the fray – but they just could not regain control of the game. Sean Rivers went extremely close in the 66th minute, chipping the ball over the stranded Murch and just wide of the goal, and a minute later City were on the scoresheet again. Danny Elgar intercepted a cross field pass and, with the defence back pedalling to catch him, tore down the centre of the park and fired into the bottom corner of the net from 15 yards out. Things got worse for Warlingham a few minutes later when their skipper Hodge was given a straight red after a tangle with a City player.
Play eventually restarted and Guildford continued to go on the attack. Bridgey was unlucky not to score in the 78th minute – making space but seeing his shot blocked at the last minute. The home side did their first effort of the half a minute later however, Anthony Williams hitting a decent shot which was well held by Hall. Rivers responded by firing a shot just wide. The 5th goal followed soon after – Danny Elgar, who had been at the centre of so much during the game, fired a perfect cross into the box which found substitute Luke Bradnick completely unmarked 6 yards out. The City midfielder finished impressively, curling the ball past Murch with the outside of his foot. Still the visitors pressed and Murch pulled off an excellent save to deny Rivers in the 83rd minute. Moments later Harrison and King could not quite combine to score Guildford’s 6th.
As the 90 minute mark arrived it appeared that City would record their biggest win in 2 seasons and keep a clean sheet to boot. We should have known better with the latter prediction. In the 91st minute, the Hammers won a freekick in a central position on the edge of the box. Dean Jansen stepped up and fired a screamer into the back of the Guildford net, with Hall rooted to the spot – either he or the wall should have done better. Still, Guildford could console themselves with a place in the 3rd round against North Greenford and plenty of positives to take into the match against Horley on Saturday.
WARLINGHAM: T. Murch; J. Hodge; M. Brown; D. Pledge; P. Nash (R. Brown, 63); J. Cecil; B. Stuart (A. Williams, 63); D. Amsbury (D. Jansen, 69); P. Stuart; D. McDiarmid; L. Neaves
Subs not used: L. Brady; D. Robinson
Booked: J. Hodge; J. Cecil; P. Stuart
Sent off: J. Hodge
GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; E. Defreitas; T. Penson; S. Cooper; T. Tydeman (L. Bradnick, 72); J. King; H. Carnegie; G. Adesina (T. Arnold, 69); S. Rivers; L. Banton-Brown (A. Bridgeman, 46); D. Elgar
Subs not used: J. Turner
Booked: T. Tydeman; S. Rivers
Referee: S. Earl