by Barry Underwood
After a five goal midweek defeat at Hartley Wintney, Guildford City welcomed local neighbours Westfield to the Spectrum. The temperature in the high 20’s was more suited to sitting on the beach and the FA’s directive for water breaks in each half was much needed. The City line up featured new signings Dan Akinwande, formerly of Cove, in midfield and Nurrudin Hanif from Staines Town on the bench. Ironically perhaps Bruce McPhail who left City last week appeared at right-back for the visitors. Post-match Westfield social media hailed their side’s first half performance and it is hard to disagree. After 27 minutes the visitors were three goals to the good, giving Guildford a mountain to climb. To be fair during the early stages City had given pretty much as good as they had got, but Westfield’s finishing was simply more clinical. The visitor’s went ahead after six minutes. Connor Hall initially did well to win the ball on the right edge of the area, but Rikkie Letch battled back to win the ball and cross low for Ben Placito to curl into the corner from 20 yards. City responded when Kiyanu Pillay escaped down the left but sadly his poor cross eluded his colleagues in the middle. City just needed a break in front of goal but it failed to arrive. Andy Ottley’s fine cross into the box narrowly eluded City’s frontrunners, and minutes later fine inter passing between the two Dans, Akinwande and Stewart, slid Anthony Baker through a gap but his effort as he bore down on goal was well saved by Norman in the visitor’s goal. On 24 minutes City had another opportunity to get back on level terms when Akinwande released Kiyanu Pillay on the left edge of the box but again he was unable to pick out a red shirt in the box with his cross. As if to make City pay for the profligacy in front of goal, Westfield extended their lead a minute later when Connor Hall’s under hit back pass saw Rikkie Letch do well to net from an acute angle. And as if to really rub the salt in City’s wounds Westfield scored a third just minutes later. Dan Stewart was robbed of the ball in the middle of the park and Placito had space to run through unopposed to slide the ball past Liam Beach.
Being three goals down at the interval was not in City’s game plan and certainly in the opening stages of the second period City upped the ante. The introduction off the bench of Nurrudin Hanif and Athan Smith-Joseph sparked some life into the side, with Smith-Joseph in particular causing numerous problems down the left flank. Despite this injection off the bench Guildford though were still generally looking lack lustre. On 70 minutes Shane Cheeseman all too easily found a shooting position in the box and smashed an effort against the post, and Liam Beach made a fine save from the resulting second effort. Minutes later Beach was again called into action saving again from the lively Cheeseman. City did finally get themselves on the scoresheet for a consolation on 85 minutes when after one of several impressive runs, Athan Smith-Joseph was brought down in the box and Matt York stepped up to convert from the penalty spot. A game to be forgotten but one wonders what might have happened if City had converted one of their early chances?
Team: Liam Beach, Andy Ottley, Connor Hall, Matt York, Tadej Venta, Jack Collins (Nurrudin Hanif 45), Rory Cornelius, Dan Akinwande, Anthony Baker (Athan Smith-Joseph 45), Dan Stewart (James Ryan 81), Kiyanu Pillay. Unused subs: Alex McWilliam, Myles Jones.
Referee: Sunny Gill
Attendance – 82