Horley Town (2) 4, Guildford City (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
Having conceded four goals it would be wrong to say that City played well, but in truth they didn’t play too badly and certainly the feeling was that the final score didn’t reflect the full nature of the game. Horley certainly are a form side and only weeks ago put seven goals past City at the Spectrum, indeed they have now picked up 19 points out of a possible 21. It was in fact the visitors who were fastest out of the traps. So fast in fact that most people were still settling into their viewing positions. Interplay between Will Hoare and Leon Lalor-Dell gave Mario Embalo the chance to put the ball in the net within 40 seconds of the start! Buoyed by their early goal City looked comfortable for the first 20 minutes; especially in defence. Gradually though it was apparent that Horley were looking more threatening and it was no real surprise when after 28 minutes Alex Barbary was allowed to run too far unimpeded and his low shot from 25 yards managed to find the corner of the net. Encouraged by their goal Horley now enjoyed more possession and for their part Guildford stopped pressing as effectively as they had done earlier. As half-time approached Guildford conceded their statutory late goal before the interval. 44 minutes were on the clock when Kerran Boylan outmuscled a City defender and bore down on goal where he feinted past Luke Badiali to slot home.
The second period was a more open affair and indeed entertaining for watching neutrals. Both factors helped by the excellent refereeing of Amadou Jallow. Chances were created at either end and fundamentally the home side scored from their opportunities whilst City didn’t from theirs! On 52 minutes Guildford’s first sight of goal after the break saw Shawn Lyle head wide, whilst four minutes later a fine Mario Embalo header brought a quite fantastic save out of Horley keeper George Hyde. For the Sweeney behind the goal it looked for all the world that the ball was about to cross the line, but somehow Hyde arched back and across to keep the ball out. In City’s best spell of the match the outcome of the game was still very much up for grabs. On the hour after sustained pressure the ball fell to Leon Lalor-Dell on the edge of the box but his snatched effort sailed high and wide. It was against the run of play therefore that the home side extended their lead to an all-important two goal margin. From a corner the ball was missed in the goalmouth and Kerran Boylan was present at the back of the goal to head home. With 15 minutes remaining there was still time for salvation and Darryl Siaw, who had looked threatening in several forward runs, was given a shooting chance by Embalo but his initial touch was heavy and his effort on goal skewed wide. As the time ticked down Greg Haydon’s header forced Hyde into another excellent save, quickly followed a minute later by another Mario Embalo header which again saw that man Hyde brilliantly tip the ball over the bar. It was somewhat cruel therefore when in the final moments Richard Wetton shot home from range after good work from Kyle Hough. It was another part of the learning curve for this young City side, but there was plenty of talent on view and there is likely to be more good days than bad.
Team: Luke Badiali, Tom Booth (Jordan Goater 68), Darryl Siaw, Greg Haydon, Connor Gales, Will Hoare, Leon Lalor-Dell (Dylan Ramazani 76), Alex Rose, Mario Embalo, Shawn Lyle, Kiye Martin (Jacob Lambe 58). Unused sub: Suleiman Djalo.
Referee: Amadou Jallow.