Fleet Town (1) 2, Guildford City (2) 3
By Matt Howell
In a game they had been targeting Fleet started strongly and opened the scoring inside five minutes, Simba Mlambo catching the City defence during a lapse of concentration. The match pivoted in Guildford’s favour within a few moments, however. Lance Banton-Brown latched on to a through ball and poked the ball past onrushing Fleet goalkeeper Pryce, who clattered into Lance to concede a penalty.
The Fleet custodian then received his marching orders for his offence, and goal scorer Mlambo took over in goal. He could do nothing about Ben Walshe’s low conversion to restore parity from the penalty spot. The spot kick and one man advantage had given City an unexpected chance to take hold of the game, and minutes later Andy White’s well-taken shot curled into the net to put Guildford ahead.
City could have extended their lead when a cross-cum-shot from Sam Spencer drew a smart reaction save from Mlambo. In truth though it was the ten men of Fleet who late in the half had the best passages of play. The hosts were attacking quickly down the slope, but they found the City defence – including new signing Matt Oldring – in fine form denying them any clear cut chances.
Early exchanges in the second half were all one way – and it was no surprise when Guildford extended their lead when Jack Guilford headed in an excellent corner to put the visitors 3-1 ahead. The attacking trio of Banton-Brown, who was an energetic force upfront until forced off by injury, White and Spencer all had chances to extend the lead and put the game beyond doubt, but were thwarted each time by last ditch defending. With a little under half an hour remaining, Fleet understandably upped their game and were exploiting the flanks expertly. Some superb passing was catching City flat-footed, and from a scramble in the box Sam Spencer handled the ball – giving Craig Davis the opportunity to reduce the deficit from the penalty spot; a chance that he duly took.
At 3-2, and in a cup tie atmosphere, Fleet sensed an equaliser. Continuing in the same vein they twice failed to make the most of excellent scoring chances. On other occasions they found City keeper Antony Hall in commanding form cutting out dangerous crosses and set pieces. There was still time for City to threaten and Nuno Pereira had an effort cleared off the line late in the game. An age into injury time, with City seemingly on the ropes, a pair of deep free kicks were the closest Fleet could muster in the dying minutes – and to the jubilation of the large travelling support Guildford held on to claim three vital points in this relegation battle.
Team: Antony Hall, Bruce McPhail, Dammy Bada, Matt Oldring, Jamie Thoroughgood, Ben Walshe (Callum Attwood), Andy White, Jack Guilford, Sam Spencer, Lance Banton-Brown (Nuno Pereira), Dom Ogun. Unused subs: Ryan Wallis, Joel Greaves, Aaron Hennessy
Yellow cards: Banton-Brown, Guilford, Spencer, Ogun, White.
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Mark Lucie
Attendance – 137
Match Photos are Here
Post Match Interviews:
You can listen to the Kevin Rayner interview here
Listen to Jack Guilford’s reaction to the game here