Guildford City (2) 5, Raynes Park Vale (2) 3
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City welcomed in a new era by celebrating Dean Thomas’s first match in charge with a highly entertaining 5-3 victory over Raynes Park Vale. The City starting line-up featured five debutants in James Davies, Matt Anton and Tom Booth from Godalming & Farncombe, Emmanuel Ewuoso from Clacton FC who has just arrived at University and Akeem Moore, formerly of Welling United. City also welcomed back former players Bruce McPhail and Florin Ramizi after brief spells away. Guildford was missing though the tough tackling presence of Jack Collins with work commitments, and Nathaniel Williams through injury. City with some pace in the side were looking to attack fast but Raynes Park are a well organised side and during the first half they managed largely to negate the City threat. Guildford though did look dangerous from set pieces and after just two minutes a James Davies free-kick was glanced wide by Matt Anton. From a second free-kick, this time by Andy Ottley, City did go ahead; Florin Ramizi nodded the ball down in the box and Tom Booth was first to react to shoot home. It wasn’t long before the visitors had drawn level through a Conor Turner header as City started to look vulnerable at the back. Indeed minutes later Callum Forbes headed over from a good position and things looked a little ominous for the home side. On the break Akeem Moore had a cross come shot saved by Jack Witts in the Vale goal but it was still Vale who threatened and on 36 minutes Anthony Moulds edged Vale ahead after City had spurned two chances to clear the ball. It is Guildford who often concede just prior to the interval but on this occasion the tables were turned. Another excellent Andy Ottley free-kick into the danger area was met by Matt Anton who headed powerfully home from 12 yards.
Whatever manager Dean Thomas said at half-time it had an effect in the second period as City looked an altogether more confident side. They became even more confident after 49 minutes when they edged ahead from the penalty spot courtesy of Andy Ottley. It was Akeem Moore’s pace and persistence that won the award as he got to the ball a second before Witts and was brought down in a heap as he nudged the ball past. Three minutes later City twice came close when Matt Anton’s lob came back off the post and Florin Ramizi’s header following up was brilliantly saved at close range by Witts. Matt Anton was not to be denied long as he used his strength to get free of the defence to guide the ball past the advancing keeper and give the home side a two goal advanatge. The visitors themselves won and scored from a penalty with nine minutes to go after Toby Johnson brought down Reece Turner following a defensive slip. It was Turner himself who dusted himself down to fire home and now with just a single goal lead it was game on! Sweeney nerves in the stands were jangling a little but were calmed as the game went into stoppage time as Edgar Morais turned in the box to shoot goal ward, and although Witts got his hands to the ball he couldn’t prevent it from crossing the line. After a turbulent two week period there were happy thoughts as the City fans filed out of the ground at the final whistle.
Team: Liam Beach, Nurrudin Hanif, James Davies, Emmanuel Ewuoso (Edgar Morais 76), Bruce McPhail, Toby Johnson, Florin Ramizi, Andy Ottley, Matt Anton (Jordan Pateman 90), Tom Booth (Josh Everard 45), Akeem Moore.
Referee: Ndoda Dlamini
Attendance – 125