Mole Valley SCR (0) 0, Guildford City (1) 2
A battling two goal victory at the Leg of Mutton ground on Saturday saw Guildford City successfully conclude its “Great Escape”. City knew that a victory in this final match of the season would see them reach safety, although results elsewhere might have achieved the same result. Manager Don Chislett was clear though that his side’s future was in their own hands and a victory was targeted. Once again Guildford’s travelling Sweeney were present in numbers and the clubhouse pre-match was a scene of nerves and excitement in equal measure.
The match, when it started, saw City enjoying territorial advantage without creating clear chances. Similarly the home side looked to get the ball forward quickly to their top scorer Michael Campbell, but City’s defence to a man were alert to the danger and performed exceptionally all afternoon. The visitors looked good in possession but often play broke down with a misdirected final pass. Manager Don Chislett was visible urging greater movement from his front runners, and despite moments of danger from the flanks, in particular from Kiyanu Pillay, City were unable to get a clear sight of goal. Jack Collins saw a 25 yard pile driver blocked after good build up from Pillay and Anthony Baker but finally to the relief of the travelling fans the deadlock was broken on 28 minutes. Kris Campbell floated a ball forward having seen Anthony Baker’s run to the edge of the box. Baker to his credit controlled the high ball with his chest and on the turn fired a low shot beyond Leigh Bowden’s despairing dive. With news filtering through that both of the main relegation rivals were also winning it was clear that in all likelihood City did need to claim the three points this afternoon. When the elusive Pillay was brought down just outside of the box, Jack Collins saw another fierce effort blocked by the disintegrating wall. In the minutes leading up to the interval Dan Stewart and Anthony Baker both shot wide from good positions but at half-time the visitors would have been satisfied with progress.
The second period opened much as the first had. Both Kiyanu Pillay and Rory Cornelius tried their luck from range but Leigh Bowden was equal to the task. By the hour mark though it was apparent that SCR were starting to turn the screw in an effort to get something from the game, and as the game progressed they pushed more and more players forward in search of an equaliser. City, as ever, still looked dangerous on the break and when a free-kick was conceded Jack Collins deep cross was mishandled by Bowden but Anthony Baker lurking at the back of the goal was only able to hit the outside of the past from an acute angle. A minute later Kiyanu Pillay crossed from the right but Bowden spread himself well to block Luke Simmond’s close range effort and the ball was scrambled away. On 68 minutes SCR had their first real sight of City’s goal when the dangerous Michael Campbell found space on the right but with Liam Beach stranded his cross come shot went across the visitor’s goalmouth. With 15 minutes remaining there was no doubting that Guildford City were under pressure. Michael Campbell again found space behind the City defence and Liam Beach, out quickly, spread himself star-like to foil the SCR striker, and at the same time gain the thanks of the watching Sweeney. Amidst a barrage of corner kicks and long throws Beach and the City defence rose to the challenge and played magnificently. On 84 minutes Kiyanu Pillay had a chance to ease the pressure when he collected a poor clearance but his 25 yard effort narrowly missed the target, brushing the outside of the post in the process. Nerves were certainly jangling in the stand but not for much longer. Cometh the hour, cometh the man! With 90 minutes up on the clock Dan Stewart latched onto Myles Jones pass and despite the pressure of the occasion, and the challenging defender, Stewart kept his head to drill low past the advancing Bowden. Cue celebrations amongst the Sweeney, and the travelling City fans. Against the odds City were staying up and within a further minute or so the result was confirmed, and Don Chislett, his coaches and the players left the field to an ovation from delighted fans.
Team: Liam Beach, Jordan Taylor, Bruce McPhail, Jack Collins, Tadej Venta, Kris Campbell, Rory Cornelius (Josh Everard 90), Luke Simmonds (Myles Jones 78), Dan Stewart, Anthony Baker, Kiyanu Pillay (Nathaniel Williams 90).
Referee: Jonathan Blower
Attendance – 80