Chertsey Town (0) 0, Guildford City (0) 0
by Barry Underwood
These two old rivals had experienced wildly different pre-seasons, City honing their skills and fitness in nine friendly fixtures whilst Chertsey settled for just the one last week. Was the difference in preparation evident on the pitch and in the heat today? In all honesty it probably was not. In truth City struggled to play their passing football on a hard pitch with relatively long grass and there was no cohesion about much of Guildford’s play. For most of pre-season City had built their attacks from the back, but for much of the first period at Alwyns Lane City’s main tactic was firing balls into the channels for the wide men to chase. Over the 90 minutes neither goal was threatened significantly although Liam Beach was the busier of the two keepers, in particular making one spectacular diving save. In the end the heat won the day with both sides flagging towards the end and in the cold light of day both sides will be content in taking a point and keeping a clean sheet to boot!
City’s first real sight of goal came after nine minutes when Rory Cornelius cross from the right was met by Dan Stewart whose shot on the turn was blocked. On the quarter hour Chertsey twice came close. Firstly Jack Wadmore broke free and as he bore down on goal it took a tremendous challenge from Jack Collins to defy the Chertsey skipper in the act of shooting. Then within moments a deep free-kick led to Liam Beach being called into action at the far post. Later Chertsey’s tall striker Joel Thompson beat three men in an impressive run before eventually being robbed of the ball in City’s box. The home side won a succession of corners but City’s defence with Jack Collins and youth player Alex McWilliam at the heart of the defence remained steady. Late in the half Guildford had two half chances. Andy Ottley slid Anthony Baker through but although he had a shooting chance he turned again to put the ball on his right foot, losing the ball in the process. Then just prior to the interval a firm effort from Athan Smith-Joseph zipped just over the crossbar.
Undeniably Guildford lifted their game after the break although they still couldn’t find their fluency of passing and movement. Dan Stewart headed against the post but was judged anyway to be offside, and Smith-Joseph fired in a long range effort that didn’t unduly exert Aspinal in the home goal. Kiyanu Pillay off the bench and Smith-Joseph did threaten down the flanks without creating any clear openings and for much of the half Dan Stewart looked something of a lonely figure. With players from both sides wilting and with the temperature in the high 20’s, the final whistle came as something of a relief to both sets of players and undoubtedly they will both settle for a point to kick-start their seasons.
Team: Liam Beach, Myles Jones, Bruce McPhail (Connor Hall 45), Matt York, Jack Collins, Alex McWilliam, Anthony Baker (Kiyanu Pillay 65), Rory Cornelius, Dan Stewart, Andy Ottley (James Ryan 63), Athan Smith-Joseph. Unused sub: Josh Drew.
Referee: Michael Smith
Attendance – 85
Match day photos are Here.
Interview with Donovan Chislett is Here.