Raynes Park Vale (2) 2, Guildford City (0) 2
by Barry Underwood
After a poor first-half Guildford City bounced back impressively in the second period to claim a draw which at one time looked unlikely. City in fact did open the match brightly and with plenty of possession, but they often found themselves with nowhere to go when confronted by a disciplined Vale back-line. The one real goal-scoring opportunity came after just six minutes when Mario Embalo was released by a fine ball from Callum Wilson, and from Embalo’s cross Kiye Martin forced a fine save from Jack Moore in the home goal. There followed a period of sustained pressure including three consecutive corners, but as so often happens Vale scored against the run of play through the combative Castiano Neto on 18 minutes, and the flow of the match changed completely. Three minutes later a speculative long ball caused confusion in the City defence and Gab Adesina found himself facing an unguarded net into which he duly rolled the ball. City were shell-shocked, whilst the home side understandably now brimmed with confidence. It could have got worse for Guildford on the half-hour when a long-range effort struck the crossbar, shortly after which a strong Vale penalty appeal was rejected by referee Luke Donaldson. Seconds before the half-time whistle Callum Wilson whistled a shot just wide for City, but after the bright start this had been a disappointing half for the visitors.
In an effort to spark the side manager Steve Dormer introduced new signing Mo Amghar off the bench and pushed Darryl Siaw into midfield. When eight minutes into the half Greg Haydon was shown a red card for a last ditch “tackle” it seemed it was going to be a bleak afternoon. Strangely though, and against the odds, going down to ten men was the spark needed and Darryl Siaw and Lee Hall started to dominate the middle of the park and Mario Embalo’s runs into the channels looked evermore dangerous. Leon Lalor-Dell headed one effort straight at Moore, whilst Kiye Martin spoiled a splendid run by failing to get a shot away on goal. Just after the hour City got on the scoresheet when one of Darryl Siaw’s trademark runs into the box was halted illegally, and Mario Embalo stepped up to fire home from the penalty spot. Later another impressive Siaw drive into the box saw him shoot wide from a good position. By now City were playing impressively and it was no surprise when they drew level on 83 minutes. Again Embalo did well to chase down a ball into the channel, whereupon his low cross was met first time by Kiye Martin whose powerful drive took a deflection on its way into the net. In the final moments Vale were forced to defend heroically and with the last kick of the match Kiye Martin came close to scoring again at the far post.
Team: Matt Petts, Callum Wilson, Alex Rose, Greg Haydon, Darryl Siaw, Dan Akinwande (Mohamed Amghar 46), Lee Hall, Kiye Martin, Leon Lalor-Dell (Robbie Mundow 73), Mario Embalo, Shawn Lyle (Jamel Johnson 60). Unused subs: Cameron Karembo.
Referee: Luke Donaldson