Guildford City (1) 1, Epsom & Ewell (2) 3
Guildford City’s four match winning run came to an end at the Spectrum on Saturday when an impressive Epsom & Ewell produced an accomplished performance to claim the three points. Defender Kristian Campbell was missing from the City line-up as the result of the facial injury suffered against Farnham in midweek, causing the captain Jack Collins to drop back into defence, with youth teamer Josh Everard coming into a midfield role. In truth City never reached the heights of recent performances and they made an uncertain start and struggled to find the fluency of recent matches. That said whilst Epsom were enjoying more possession there were few clear openings at either end. Early in the game striker Dan Stewart was switched to a deeper role and City began to look more effective. City’s first clear sight of goal saw Teddy Venta sweep a shot wide after a low corner from Jack Collins.
Gradually City were working their way into the match and after a fine run and cross from Florin Ramizi, Kiyanu Pillay was just unable to connect from a tight angle. On the half hour a delicate through ball from Luke Simmonds put Florin Ramizi into space on the right edge of the box but his cross sadly was misdirected. Minutes later the visitor’s took the lead. Prolific goal scorer Kyle Hough wriggled his way goal ward along the by-line before being brought down. The same player picked himself up, dusted himself down and despatched the penalty into the corner. On 37 minutes City drew level with a wonderful piece of individual skill from Florin Ramizi; his feint turned the defender inside out and his low shot from 20 yards flew into the far corner. Going into the half-time interval a goal apiece might in retrospect have changed the outcome of the game, but sadly for the home side a free-kick was cheaply conceded deep in their half in the 45th minute, and Kyle Hough found space in the box to head home his 30th goal of the season.
Within seconds of the restart City gave the ball away cheaply in their own half and Matt Robinson, who impressed all afternoon, found space behind the defence to coolly chip the ball over the advancing Liam Beach. Now facing an uphill struggle Guildford were somewhat set back on their heels and it wasn’t until 65 minutes that City had a further chance on goal when Jordan Taylor headed over from a Jack Collins free-kick. In the last 15 minutes as both teams tired on the big pitch chances started to appear at both ends. Matt Robinson slid another effort just wide for Epsom and Liam Beach spread himself impressively to thwart another Epsom chance. For City Luke Simmonds flicked a chance over the bar, whilst at the other end Kyle Hough shot wide from the angle.
On 83 minutes Guildford had a golden chance to get back into the game. Imposing Epsom ‘keeper Michael Eacott rushed out to kick the ball clear but didn’t make contact but Anthony Baker’s attempt to slide the ball home from the edge of the box rolled agonisingly wide. A minute later Dan Stewart broke free but his effort was well saved by the advancing Eacott. The visitors did counter with firstly Liam Beach being called into spectacular action, and then Anthony Panayi heading just wide, and at the end few would argue that the best team had won on the day.
Team: Liam Beach, Jordan Taylor (Nathaniel Williams 73), Bruce McPhail, Luke Simmonds, Jack Collins, Tadej Venta, Florin Ramizi, Josh Everard (Mert Varli 57), Dan Stewart, Anthony Baker, Kiyanu Pillay (Liam Talbot 57). Unused sub: Josh Hall.
Referee: Michael Smith
Attendance – 123