Guildford City (1) 2, Spelthorne Sports (2) 4
by Barry Underwood
Spelthorne Sports made it five wins in a row at the Spectrum in a highly entertaining encounter against Guildford City. City made life hard for themselves by gifting the visitor’s their opening goals and despite a spirited fight back it was Spelthorne who edged away late in the second half to take the game. In fairness City looked sharp in an attacking sense but too often there was vulnerability in defence that had all City supporters on edge for most of the game. City were missing the tough tackling presence of Jack Collins through injury, but they welcomed back Josh Drew from holiday and also gave a debut to newly signed wide player Aidan Bigley.
City came within a whisker of taking the lead in the very first minute. A speculative ball forward enabled Matt Anton to out muscle the defence but his low effort was well saved at close range by Dane Buss. The match was being played at a fast pace with the play rapidly flowing end to end and it wasn’t long before the first goal came. Sadly for City it was Spelthorne who netted first and they didn’t have to work very hard to score it! Liam Beach, who has been outstanding this season in goal, attempted to pass the ball out of defence but Simon Muir intercepted and had the simple task of putting the ball into the net. From a confident start this rocked Guildford slightly and on 15 minutes City went two behind. The Guildford defence neglected chances to clear and ultimately a ricochet fell kindly for Lee Staples to pick his spot. If the home side were to get something from the game they would have to do it the hard way. Inside two minutes the fightback began when a bouncing ball on the edge of the box was hooked home by debutant Aidan Bigley. Encouraged by this goal they should have been back on level terms when Matt York flicked on a long throw but Tom Booth’s header from close range looped over the crossbar. For all of their attacking flair City were looking unsteady at the back and it took a well-timed tackle from Toby Johnson to stop Staples adding to the score. Similarly as half-time approached Liam Beach produced a fine reaction save from close range.
On 51 minutes Guildford got themselves back on level terms with a fine goal. Andy Ottley’s crossfield pass found Matt Anton who cut into the box before drilling low into the corner. On the balance of play it looked as if it would be City who would go on to win. Nathaniel Williams came close when his shot on the turn was saved for a corner by Buss at full stretch. From the resulting corner Josh Drew’s glanced header hit the crossbar and was cleared and you can’t help but think that if either chance had gone in the final outcome might have been different. City still attacked and a fine Ottley/Davies interchange of passes put Ottley into space to fire in a fierce effort that was comfortably saved. On 69 minutes Tom Booth followed suit when he unleashed an absolute pile driver from 35 yards that was acrobatically saved by Buss. The tempo dramatically changed in a three minute spell. You can’t give a striker of the calibre of Lee Staples too much space as he proved on 74 minutes when he broke off the City defence and calmly converted to restore Spelthorne’s lead. Just three minutes later the feat was repeated but this time it was Simo Mbonkwi who broke free to slide the ball home. This time there was no defiant fightback from the home side and set back on their heels the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion.
Team: Liam Beach, Nurrudin Hanif, James Davies, Josh Everard, Matt York, Toby Johnson, Aidan Bigley (Josh Drew 51), Tom Booth, Matt Anton, Andy Ottley (Florin Ramizi 77). Unused subs: Emmanuel Ewuoso, Akeem Moore, Edgar Morais.
Referee: Andrew Herb
Attendance – 118