Abbey Rangers (2) 2, Guildford City (2) 4
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City opened their league season at Premier division newcomers Abbey Rangers and they came away from Addlestone Moor with three points after a strong performance and clinical display of finishing. Played on a warm day and on an excellent pitch there could be no excuses for not playing good passing football. It was anticipated that Abbey, having been promoted last season, would be full of confidence for their first match at premier level. Guildford in fact were a little slow off the mark and the home side pushed forward with confidence with Paul Hodges especially looking dangerous on the right flank. Indeed it was Hodges after eight minutes who created the opening for Dejeane Taylor-Crossdale to fire home. City were not long in arrears. Matt Glass skipped past a defender on the right before crossing low to Perry Coles to shoot home from 12 yards. It is always said that a team are at their most vulnerable immediately after they have scored, and so it proved when just two minutes later an unfortunate ricochet in defence saw Philippe Blaetner have a clear run on goal and he finished with aplomb past Jordan Clement. Defensively City were showing some frailty but going forward was a different story. Perry Coles was a constant menace to the home defence, but it was his fellow strike partner Matt Glass who brought the scores back level after 24 minutes. The hardworking Bobby Dormer won a 50:50 challenge and Ibby Akanbi fed the loose ball through to Glass who side footed home with composure. So it was two goals each with barely a third of the match gone! It was entertaining end to end football. Firstly Ibby Akanbi again fed Coles whose attempted close range lob was blocked, and in the next instant a missed clearance in the City defence caused alarm but the danger was averted by a fine scrambling effort. As the half came to an end Martin Dynan had a chance at the far post forcing goalkeeper Liam Stone to parry the ball round the post.
Guildford introduced Darryl Siaw off of the bench after the interval and it certainly gave the visitors a more secure look. Indeed Guildford played some impressive football during the second period and they were unlucky not to take the lead after 51 minutes, when Perry Coles netted but was rather harshly adjudged to be in an offside position. City though were not to be denied long. Within three minutes a move involving Matt Glass and Jordan Johnson led to Perry Coles spinning in the box and shooting low into the corner, despite Stone’s efforts to save. On the hour it was Darryl Siaw’s turn to dazzle the spectators with his ball skills, somehow getting to the by-line under heavy pressure before laying the ball into the six yard box. Perry Coles got his foot to the ball but it looped up over the crossbar. Guildford was now becoming dominant with Martin Dynan at the back very much leading by example. With 15 minutes remaining City scored the fourth goal that their general play deserved. This time it was Shawn Clement-Peter who cut in the by-line and from his cross Perry Coles netted his hat-trick goal. Thereafter there were probing attacks at either end, but nothing that was going to prevent the visitors from claiming three valuable points to kick-off the season.
Team: Jordan Clement, Jake Downs, Alex Penfold, Bobby Dormer (Greg Haydon 75), Martin Dynan, Matt Anton (Darryl Siaw 46), Ibby Akanbi, Jordan Johnson, Perry Coles (Tom Bingham 81), Matt Glass, Shawn Clement-Peter. Unused subs: Andre Morais, Dave Hill.
Referee: Andrew Herb