Chessington & Hook United (0) 1, Guildford City (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City finally overcame a spirited Chessington performance to take their place in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in six years. As on Saturday in the original fixture, City had goal chances galore in the first half but barring Jake Downs 12th minute header had failed to make the most of their goalscoring opportunities. An early second-half goal from Perry Coles seemed to have settled the matter, but my goodness the home side were not going to exit the FA Cup without an almighty fight. From the hour stage City increasingly came under pressure and slowly sat deeper and deeper in their attempts to keep the home side at bay. Full credit though to the City backline who defended heroically and despite Kyle Green reducing the arrears, and two looping headers hitting the top of the crossbar, City saw the rest of the game out.
It was actually the home side who showed their intent from the kick-off when Jordan Clement was called into a diving save from a long range shot after the City defence were slow to close down. Guildford were soon into their stride though and from a quickly taken free-kick Perry Coles powerful effort from an acute angle was saved at the near post. On 10 minutes new signing Youssef Bamba made the first of several impressive runs down the left flank but his cross into the box evaded the on-rushing strikers. Two minutes later City broke the ice (on an evening of steamy temperatures) with a goal that would surely settle them down. From a corner Jake Downs headed powerfully down and the ball bounced up onto the underside of the crossbar and down, and then over the line off of the heels of goalkeeper Ian Hewitt. Looking to put the game to bed Guildford went forward looking for a second. Perry Coles broke through on the left but his unselfish low cross eluded Matt Glass. On the half hour Ibby Akanbi won the ball in midfield before unleashing Coles. This time City’s diminutive striker chose to shoot but his low effort went wide of the far post. Minutes later it was Coles strike partner Matt Glass in action. Glass benefitted from a defensive error but bearing down on goal, and much to his own frustration, his effort was straight at Hewitt. City should have been made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal when just prior to the interval Ade Peters did well to take the ball in on goal but fortunately for the visitors he miskicked and the ball rolled harmlessly wide.
Immediately from the restart Perry Coles had another effort saved at the near post but the second goal wasn’t to be delayed long. A minute later Matt Glass was held in the box for what in honesty looked to be a soft penalty decision. Alex Penfold stepped up but his low effort cannoned back off the goal post but fortunately for Guildford Perry Coles was on hand to tuck the loose ball away. Just minutes later Matt Glass’s run took him in on goal but this time his low shot went wide of the far post. It appears likely that prior to this round of the FA Cup Glass must have run over a black cat as his luck in front of goal has temporarily deserted him. But there is it should be said far more to Matt Glass than scoring goals and his tireless running and support play marked him out in the Sweeney’s eyes as City’s man of the match. Gradually Chessington were to gain their composure and on 52 minutes City keeper Jordan Clement was forced into a quite brilliant diving save. Around the hour mark the home side twice hit the top of the crossbar from looping headers won from set-pieces. Almost inevitably given the pressure Chessington gained reward when after a huge scramble in the box Kyle Green was given the chance to shoot home. This was now a traditionally passionate FA Cup tie. The Sweeney were in full song behind the goal and the atmosphere went up several notches. The home side came close to scoring again but this time an offside flag intervened. You felt at this stage that if Chessington scored again they would go on to win. Tensions heightened with eight minutes remaining when Jordan Clement raced from his goal in an attempt to clear a loose ball. Clement finished this particular race in second place and under the new rules was correctly shown a yellow card despite the vocal protestations of the home crowd. In the final moments a series of long balls into the City box were dealt with, and in a break from the pressure Jordan Johnson was brought down on the edge of the home box from which Alex Penfold’s free-kick whistled inches wide. There was undoubted relief when the final whistle blew after eight minutes of stoppage time. Chessington had thrown everything at their higher level opponents and will be disappointed that they didn’t get better reward. Guildford meanwhile continue their run and despite the closeness of the result will know that on other days their myriad of chances will be converted into goals.
Team: Jordan Clement, Jake Downs, Alex Penfold, Darryl Siaw, Bobby Dormer (Shawn Clement-Peter 67), Jordan Johnson, Tom Booth, Ibby Akanbi (Spencer Forte 77), Perry Coles, Matt Glass, Youssef Bamba (Shaun Lydon 89). Unused sub: Dave Hill.
Referee: Michael Coen
Attendance – 138
Match Photos: Click here