Together they have been the spine of a highly successful Guildford team, featuring heavily in Guildford’s championship winning seasons. They have also made the step up to playing in the Evo-Stik Southern Central with equally brilliant performances.
Cooper made his City début against Chessington & Hook on the 7th October 2009. The game was played in the pouring rain on Wednesday night, with only a 119th minute Sean Rivers’s goal separating the teams. Though it may have not been the most glamorous of debut matches, it did not stop Cooper becoming an irreplaceable and dependable part of the team. Since making his début Simon has played 91.8% of Guildford’s matches in this time.
Rayner made his début slightly earlier than Cooper at the end of the previous season, coming off the bench in a 1-1 draw against Banstead Athletic on the 7th April 2009. This was the start of his midfield dominance, in which he helped control games both defensively and going forward. Known for his high work rate and ability to pick the right pass, Rayner has now established himself as a manager’s favourite…!
For a centre back, Cooper has an impressive scoring record, with 29 goals in total, 13 of these coming in cup matches. Cooper was already known for scoring from free-kick, and this was epitomised by two stunning goals against Guernsey in last seasons Combined Counties Cup Semi-Final. Ben also has a solid 23 goals in his 150 appearance, with Guildford City never losing a league game in which he has found the net.
Statistically the two players are evenly matched with Rayner having a slightly lower goals conceded per game ratio of 1.33 against 1.37 for Cooper. That said, Captain Coops has also helped Guildford achieve 45 clean sheets, compared to 41 when Rayner has played. Cooper has also accumulated four more yellow cards with 38, although Rayner has an extra sending off with 3. The percentage of games won falls in favour of Cooper with a mighty 65% against an equally impressive 63% for Rayner.
It has been 81 games since neither Rayner nor Cooper have started a game for Guildford, with the two of them being influential for the club. We therefore hope that this combination continues long into the future, being more success for both the player and Guildford City as a club.
Article written by Chris ‘Statto’ Lucas.