Guildford City (2) 4, Chertsey Town (0) 2
by Barry Underwood
It wasn’t a classic by any means but for Guildford City claiming the three points was essential after a run of seven matches without a victory. To be honest City will have played better this season and have lost, and for a while in the second half there were some concerns amongst the assembled Sweeney that the home side could give up a four goal lead as Chertsey, seemingly transformed by going down to 10 men, stormed forward in the later stages. Thankfully fortune shone kindly on City and despite nine long minutes of stoppage time City claimed the victory that gives Dean Thomas and his team a timely lift prior to the Christmas period. With both Harry Driver and Bradley Pegg suffering injuries at training, City’s starting line-up showed some defensive changes with debutant Oliver Reynolds stepping in at right-back, with normal left-back Liam Flanighan switching to the centre of defence.
Guildford opened the game in lively fashion and Adam Nditi almost scored with a fine volley after just two minutes; George Armstrong being forced into a fine diving save. On five minutes a Sanchez Benali free-kick curled past everybody in the area and just wide of the far post, and on 13 minutes the same player repeated the trick but this time his high curling free-kick from out wide evaded the scrambling Armstrong and went into the top comer to open the scoring. It wasn’t all one way traffic and Paul Frith had a great chance for Chertsey but his effort from 15 yards cleared the crossbar. A minute later and with the best move of the game Guildford went two ahead. Connor French found Adam Nditi in space on the left and his delightful early ball found Matt Anton who finished clinically from 12 yards to end his own personal goal drought. Chertsey again came close on the half hour with James Davies blocking a goal bound volley and from the rebound Luke Badiali being forced into a flying save.
City opened the second period as they had the first and whilst spectators were still taking their seats Jack Battie had slid a ball into the box where Matt Anton’s shot on the turn sizzled just over the crossbar. A minute later Anton got behind the Chertsey defence out wide and the ball was fed back to Connor French whose side footed effort drifted wide of the post. It was important for City to take advantage of their dominance and on 48 minutes they did just that. Matt Anton chased a long ball forward and whilst Medi Nsuguba and George Armstrong dithered as to who was going to clear, Anton got his foot in between and directed the ball towards the empty net. Minutes later the bustling Connor French was pulled back as he went for a ball in the box, and the big striker dusted himself off to convert from the spot to give City what surely would be a match winning score. To compound matters Chertsey defender John Pomroy was shown red for the penalty incident and it seemed Guildford would play out a routine victory. Not for the first time this proved not to be the case. Down to ten men was no hindrance to the visitors and for the last half-hour they dominated both possession and chances. What seemed at the time a consolation was scored when Joe Blendell headed in at the far post following a flick-on from a long throw. With ten minutes still remaining an audacious back-heel from close range by Jaoa Tiago brought the scores closer and there was definitely some concern that as per last week Guildford could yet give up a winning position. An overhead kick straight at Luke Badiali in stoppage time, followed by a Chertsey free-kick that glanced off the post kept the pressure on right until the end. Finally after nine minutes of added time the match reached its conclusion with City claiming three valuable points which sent their fans home happy for Christmas!
Post match interview with manager Dean Thomas can be heard here.
Team: Luke Badiali, Oliver Reynolds, James Davies, Martin Dynan, Liam Flanighan, Jack Battie, Adam Nditi, Darren Caesar (Remi Mongeaud 77), Matt Anton, Connor French (Nathan Chambers 65), Sanchez Benali. Unused subs: Chad Goulter, Callum Sexton.
Referee: Oliver Davies
Attendance – 84