By Barry Underwood
Guildford City (0) 3, Horley Town (1) 3
Guildford City returned to home league action for the first time since 6 December, and indeed for the first time in any action for a month. With fellow league strugglers Horley Town visiting the Spectrum the game could be judged a six point game. As perhaps could be expected in the circumstances City were somewhat rusty, especially in the first period, and Horley dominated much of the first 45 minutes creating a number of chances on goal that were spurned by a mixture of valiant defending and poor finishing. Certainly City were a different side in the second half, attacking with flair, and the game transformed into a thrilling end to end encounter. I’m sure that Don Chislett will be somewhat disappointed after having seen his team take an 88th minute lead, only to concede an even later equaliser. But given their early dominance Horley would certainly have felt aggrieved had they returned home pointless.
In the first five minutes City earned the game’s first corner which resulted in Josh Hall shooting wide at the far post, but quickly Horley were into their stride with the League’s leading goal scorer Ashley Nadesan and Aiden Richards posing plenty of problems to the City backline. Against the run of play on 23 minutes a Dan Stewart cross from the right was acrobatically met on the volley by Jack Knight but with George Hyde beaten the ball hit the crossbar and looped over. Shortly afterwards Horley twice came close to opening the scoring. First Ashley Nadesan advanced into the box and cutting back in from the by-line his left foot effort drifted wide of an open goal. Minutes later Aiden Richards latched onto an error to take the ball wide of Lee Allen but his shot from an angle hit the outside of the post. Horley’s inevitable goal eventually came on 43 minutes; Ashley Nadesan glancing home a Gary Tomlinson free-kick from close range.
It was visibly a more cohesive Guildford side that opened the second half and within two minutes City were level. Dan Stewart again provided the cross for Jack Knight to spin and fire a low shot inside the far post. Now playing with momentum Knight could only direct a header straight at Hyde, and minutes later Ethan Chislett’s slide rule pass was met by the breaking Dan Stewart who couldn’t quite direct his shot on target. The visitors were still looking dangerous on the break and twice crosses into the box were turned over the bar from good positions. Horley had a helping hand from City when they regained the lead after 67 minutes. Bruce McPhail’s clearance sliced high across the edge of the penalty area to Aiden Richards whose shot found the net via a wicked deflection. City were still playing enterprising football going forward and James Ryan’s excellent cross into the danger area just eluded the stretching Anthony Baker. A similar cross from Ethan Chislett on 84 minutes was met by Baker close in and as the deflected ball looped into the air David Unwin lunged in to ensure the ball crossed the line for a Guildford equaliser. Four minutes later it looked as if City had gained a crucial win when Ethan Chislett’s cross was chested down by an unmarked Anthony Baker who converted from close range for his ninth goal of the season. Horley in truth deserved something from the game and they ensured that they did when in the 90th minute John Eldred turned the ball home despite the scrambling efforts of Lee Allen in the home goal. An important point then for City in their first game back from an enforced break. Important match fitness gained as well which can only benefit the side in the important clashes ahead.
Team: Lee Allen, James Liang (James Ryan 45), Josh Hall, Dudley Pearn (Nathaniel Williams 76), David Unwin, Bruce McPhail, Jordan Taylor, Florin Ramizi, Jack Knight (Anthony Baker 72), Ethan Chislett, Dan Stewart. Unused subs: Rory Cornelius, Mert Varli.
Referee: Turan Yesilyurt
Attendance – 72