Guildford City twice came from behind to emerge victorious and continue their 100% start to the league season. Goals from Austin Gacheru twice brought City level before Joel Hughes grabbed a late winner in an enthralling spectacle.
City fell behind with quarter of an hour played, when a dangerous looking Epsom attacking force struck the first blow. After a nervy start for the visitors, perhaps still overshadowed by the weekend’s defeat to Farnham Town in the FA Cup, City made a couple of chances of their own, with wingers Debrah and Moody causing particular problems. They found the net in the 24th minute after Ben Rayner was illegally shoved off the ball on his way towards goal, with Gacheru dispatching the penalty high into the top corner of the net. A moment of drama followed in the 33rd minute, when Dan Moody’s powerful shot from the corner of the area was deflected on to the post, ricocheted off the back of goalkeeper Adrian Jones and looped high towards the far post. Jamie Summers tussled with Rayner for the ball, sending both colliding into the net, with the Epsom defender getting a crucial touch to the ball that tipped it round the post for a corner. The E’s were still threatening, and central defenders Cooper and Thoroughgood were especially alert to snuff out some promising moves. City were awarded another penalty just before half time, when Gacheru was felled by Jones as the Guildford striker nicked the ball past him. The goalkeeper suffered more than Austin did, however, and was replaced by Dan Coles after a lengthy stoppage. Gacheru again tried to go high, but saw his spot kick flick off the top of the cross bar.
In the second half, Epsom & Ewell once again looked dangerous and it didn’t take long for the reward to come as they retook the lead in the 54th minute. City dealt with some concerted pressure before beginning to turn the screw and produce some of the slick attacking football that has characterised the season so far. A double substitution in the 64th minute, with Ben Camara and Joel Hughes entering the fray, galvanised the side and immediately sparked dividends as, just a minute later, Austin Gacheru got his head to a Rayner corner to level the scores once more. City were now bossing the match but were not out of trouble, and either side could have grabbed a winner. That looked increasingly likely to be the visitors, and Ben Rayner came close with a curling free kick that rebounded off the bar with Coles beaten. With just two minutes of normal time remaining, Joel Hughes picked up the ball at the far post and slotted back across goal to net the winner. A nervy finish (to complement the nervy start?) ensued, and Antony Hall pulled off a(nother) fantastic point blank save to deny an equaliser, but City held on to take all three points from an entertaining match.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper [capt], Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Tony Chaplin, Austin Gacheru (Luke Bradnick 88), Jack Guilford (Ben Camara 64), Martin Debrah (Joel Hughes 64).
Unused substitutes: Dan Clayton, Tom Penson
Cautions: Corey Holder, Jack Guilford