Guildford City (0) 0, Epsom & Ewell (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City fell to a disappointing defeat against Epsom & Ewell at the Spectrum. A stoppage time goal in either half was enough for the visitors to claim victory. In what was largely a listless affair Epsom fully deserved to claim the points as they had the better of the relatively few chances; indeed a couple of the missed chances were guilt edged. Indeed top scorer Daryl Cooper-Smith rued missing a good opportunity as early as the second minute when the visitors broke away after Guildford pressure. In the opening stages City played their best football of the match. Minutes after Cooper-Smith’s miss, Mario Embalo fed debutant striker Shawn Lyle but his powerful effort was comfortably saved by the imposing figure of Michael Eacott. Guildford did come close again in the first ten minutes when Darry Siaw’s cross was met at the far post by Lyle whose excellent header was tipped over by Eacott. It was the skipper Siaw who fashioned probably City’s best goal scoring chance when he cut in from the left and fired a shot from an acute angle that Eacott did well save. Wise sages in the main stand were suggesting that pulling the ball back to the unmarked Embalo might have been a better option. In truth the first half was fairly even, then as so often happens to City they conceded in first half stoppage time; Robert Hendry turning a low shot in from 15 yards.
If the first half was fairly even then the second period was less so and almost immediately Luke Badiali was called into action to parry Matt Ferdinando’s 30 yard effort. On 55 minutes Guildford did force an opportunity on goal via the persistence of Suleiman Djalo who drove through a tackle to fire an equally powerful effort goal ward which brought the best out of Eacott. Guildford looked increasingly devoid of attacking ideas as the half developed but being just one goal in arrears there was always a chance of getting back into the game. With 15 minutes remaining Luke Badiali saved acrobatically from Cooper-Smith’s header, and shortly after Badiali was forced into action again. As the game reached 90 minutes substitute Jordan Gallagher missed a great chance to clinch the game for Epsom at the far post. Frustratingly for Guildford, in a rare threatening move, a free-kick was played short to Shawn Clement-Peter just inside the box but as he wriggled to get a better shooting position the chance was lost. To double the frustration the visitors scored a second as the game entered stoppage time when Matt Farrell found himself in space in the box. City’s disjointed performance shouldn’t be surprising. The transition between manager’s and several players departing to higher level clubs has meant that each match sees newcomers to the team. Fielding a settled side has been something of a pipedream for manager Steve Dormer. Conversely our opponents for the afternoon are a rare example of relative stability with the side fielded at the Spectrum containing four players who have made over 100 appearances for the club.
Team: Luke Badiali, Jake Downs, Darryl Siaw, Greg Haydon, Bobby Dormer, Tom Booth, Will Hoare (Shawn Clement-Peter 76), Suleiman Djalo (Marcel Henry-Francis 68), Mario Embalo, Shawn Lyle, Jacob Lambe (Leon Lalor-Dell 46). Unused subs: Kiye Martin.
Referee: Andrew Connor
Attendance – 75