Knaphill (1) 1, Guildford City (1) 3
by Barry Underwood
New Guildford manager Steve Dormer went into his first match in charge minus strikers Perry Coles, Matt Glass and Dan Harding who for varying reasons had departed the club during the preceding week. Allied to that full-backs Jordan Taylor and Nathan Gordon were missing; Taylor on holiday and Gordon to injury. The home side were also missing players having experienced an injury hit season thus far. The match opened with both sides probing each other’s defences without any cause for concern at either end. Knaphill’s strength lies in their forward line and the tall Charlie Postance and Jimmy Norman were the target of a series of deep crosses and long clearances. City on the other hand were building from the back and through midfield, and as the game developed Jack Battie and Will Hoare began to gain a toehold in the middle of the park. The first shot on goal saw Jason Thompson smash a powerful drive from 30 yards that dipped just over the crossbar. On 13 minutes Will Hoare did well to win the ball and his smart pass gave Marcel Henry-Francis the chance to set debutant Moses Ashikodi free. A cut back inside the defender gave him space to shoot and his early effort beat the scrambling Luca Bertelone to put the visitor’s one up. Minutes later Shawn Clement-Peter had the ball in the net but his effort was ruled out for a tight offside decision. Brad Thomas had an effort on the turn saved by Luke Badiali, whilst immediately at the other end Marcel Henry-Francis forced Bertelone into a fine diving save. On the half hour City should have scored again. Moses Ashikodi was put into space by Will Hoare and advancing on goal he took the unselfish option of passing to an unmarked colleague, only to see the pass intercepted by a desperate defender. Knaphill came close to getting back on level terms on 32 minutes. A deep cross saw Charlie Postance gain a free header which looped up and landed on top of the net. Guildford appeared to tire as the half drew to a close and the home side looked especially threatening. Bobby Dormer valiantly threw himself to block a volley from the edge of the box and he got enough on it to deflect the ball over the bar. It was though no surprise when a cross from the by-line by the impressive Danny Taylor was turned in by Charlie Postance to bring the scores level at the break.
After the interval Guildford once again found their attacking intent and they deservedly took the lead after 55 minutes. And what a goal it was. Some fine play in the build-up led to Will Hoare’s clever reverse pass to put Marcel Henry-Francis into space and he had time to pick his spot before shooting home. Teams are always vulnerable after scoring, or so they say, and that almost came to pass as Luke Badiali was forced to save brilliantly from close range, deflecting a power shot onto the crossbar. City pressed for a third goal to put the game beyond doubt. Bobby Dormer glanced a header inches wide from Hoare’s free-kick, and Tom Bingham had a chance one on one with Bertelone that came to nothing. The tall figure of Charlie Postance headed inches wide himself with 20 minutes remaining, and as the game reached its final minutes the same player forced Luke Badiali into an excellent reflex save. Certainly the watching Sweeney were rather tense but the nerves dissipated in the 90th minute when from a Bingham flicked header Ibby Akanbi got goal side to power a right foot effort into the net off Bertelone’s body. All round an excellent performance from City against a good side that gave them a full test.
Team: Luke Badiali, Tom Booth, Jack Battie (Greg Haydon 74), Darryl Siaw, Bobby Dormer, Jason Thompson, Shawn Clement-Peter, Will Hoare, Marcel Henry-Francis (Kieran Trevor 83), Ibby Akanbi, Moses Ashikodi (Tom Bingham 66).
Referee: Nigel Owen
Match Photos: Click here