By Barry Underwoood In front of a bumper Christmas crowd, a young City side battled gamely before falling to defeat at high-riding Windsor. On a bright but cold day, and with several experienced players missing, City’s line-up included six debutants including 17 year old goalkeeper Liam Beach. Indeed it was Beach who was called into early action as Windsor streamed forward from the kick-off. The home side were enjoying the majority of possession and were especially dangerous down either flank, and it was somewhat against the run of play that City won a corner from which Tane Caubo’s downward header was comfortably saved. Windsor hit back in impressive fashion and within minutes of each other Barry Dunbar smashed two shots against both post and crossbar. In a frantic spell the impressive Jack Collins cleared off his goal-line as Guildford City came under sustained attack. Manager Don Chislett reorganised his line up with the pacey Nathaniel Williams pushed forward, and Williams played a big part in setting up Dan Kelly for an effort that comfortably cleared the crossbar. On the half hour Liam Beach saved well low to his left, and fortunately for City the effort from the rebound went wide.
What seemed like Windsor’s inevitable goal came immediately in the second half. Davis Cofi’s tackle saw the ball fly across the edge of the box where James Quinn collected the ball and fired home into the top corner. It was though a different Guildford City in the second period. Looking in the first half a little like they were caught in the headlights, City visibly showed more confidence on the ball in the second half. James Ryan especially gained a toehold in midfield and his vision and runs made the visitors a different proposition. From one such Ryan pass Nathaniel Williams fired in a testing effort from 20 yards that Dennison saved comfortably.Although Windsor still enjoyed the majority of possession it was far from a one way procession. James Ryan himself shot wide on 68 minutes and after 73 minutes the Sweeney assembled behind the goal voiced loud claims for a penalty as Iffy Onuachu was impeded as he rose to head home at the far post; the Windsor defender handling in the process. Referee Stuart Jack though waved away claims of a foul but noticeably with still just a single goal lead to show for their earlier dominance Windsor fans were becoming somewhat edgy. The outcome was eventually settled following a corner on 81 minutes when disappointingly for the visitors they allowed Windsor two free headers in the box and from very close range Windsor had a two goal advantage. In the closing stages Liam Beach twice saved spectacularly, and James Ryan saw a free-kick zip just over the bar. After nearly 10 minutes of stoppage time the game came to a close and City’s young side left the field with heads held high.
Team: Liam Beach, Nathaniel Williams (Josh Hall 58), Davis Cofi, Dudley Pearn, David Unwin, Jack Collins, James Ryan, Bruce McPhail, Iffy Onuachu, Dan Kelly (Luke Robertson 58), Tane Caubo. Unused subs. Harry Eke, Isaac Lewis, Lee Allen (GK).
Referee: Stuart Jack
Attendance – 489