Guildford City (1) 2, Abbey Rangers (1) 3
by Barry Underwood
Once again City’s defensive frailties were exposed at the Spectrum as they fell to defeat against Abbey Rangers. Certainly inconsistency has been the name of the game this season but there has been little wrong with City’s goal scoring efforts. Conversely keeping goals out of the net has been troublesome and too often City has been left with mountains to climb. Their goals scored ratio of 58 goals from 28 matches is better than or equal to most others in the division. Sadly though 59 goals conceded is too often proving a handicap to an otherwise good footballing side. In this instance against Abbey both sides traded early blows but it was the visitors who looked the more settled side. It was in fact City who should have scored the first goal. After a short corner Leon Lalor-Dell curled a dangerous cross into the danger area where the ball fell to Greg Haydon whose shot was blocked. The rebound fell to Kiye Martin whose goal bound shot struck Mario Embalo lying prone on the line from the earlier effort. As so often Abbey hit back almost immediately when the dangerous Paul Hodges got goal side to bear down on goal. His shot beat Matt Petts and Alex Hendrie made sure the ball crossed the line under pressure from Greg Haydon. With a goal behind them Abbey looked the better side and Matt Petts twice made good saves from free-kicks just outside the box. Slowly Guildford did work their way back into the game and a little unexpectedly they drew level minutes before the interval; Lee Hall’s corner being brilliantly headed into the top corner by Alex Rose.
Having scored just prior to the interval would City be able to build some momentum going into the second-half? It seemed not when within minute’s referee Alex Taylor-Rose gave a dubious looking penalty decision for a Tom Booth tackle. Fortunately Matt Petts was up to the challenge making a fine save and there was all still to play for. It was though the visitors who nudged further ahead after 57 minutes. An Abbey player was allowed to run unopposed to the edge of the box where he offloaded to an unmarked Ben Kersley who calmly side-footed home. Guildford certainly upped their game in the second period and twice within a minute came close to an equaliser. Firstly Kiye Martin’s volley was blocked and from the resulting corner Mario Embalo spun sharply to fire an effort over the bar. Eventually the pressure paid off and on 69 minutes Leon Lalor-Dell curled an excellent effort inside the post from fully 25 yards. Having got back into the game there were hopes City would go on to clinch the three points. It wasn’t to be and on 75 minutes a ball was half cleared straight to danger man Paul Hodges who drove a low shot into the corner for the winner. There was still time for Hodges to be rather harshly given a second yellow for diving, whilst for City late in the game Leon Lalor-Dell did bring out a good save from Liam Stone. Another disappointing defeat and City must hope that before too long they solve their defensive frailties.
Team: Matt Petts, Callum Wilson, Alex Rose, Tom Booth, Greg Haydon, Dan Akinwande, Kiye Martin, Lee Hall, Mario Embalo, Shawn Lyle, Leon Lalor-Dell. Unused subs: Luke Badiali.
Referee: Alex Taylor-Rose