Guildford City (0) 1, Walton & Hersham (0) 0
by Jack Underwood
As the sun beamed down, City fans welcomed back three familiar faces to the Spectrum pitch. Former goalkeeper Liam Beach, Nathan Gordon and City legend Jamie Thoroughgood returned to face Steve Dormer’s men in a Walton & Hersham side that pre-match were sat in fourth position.
Looking to seek revenge for the 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture, Guildford started the game looking to get on the score sheet from the first minute with Evan Lopes looking dangerous every time he got on the ball. In only the third minute Lopes cleverly darted into the box and crossed to Tom Bingham whose close range shot was blocked by the Walton & Hersham defender. As the first half went on the away side looked threatening and in the 12th minute Tinashe Nkoma beat Tom Booth down the wing to cross the ball into the middle of the box. Fortunately the Walton & Hersham striker missed the ball and the opportunity passed by. It appeared the game was going to be end-to-end action but in the 33rd minute Walton & Hersham’s Steven Rivic picked up a second yellow card and the away side had to defend with 10 men. Although City were playing with an extra man, chances were few and far between for Dormer’s side with the best chance of the first half falling in the 38th minute when Lopes’s powerful free kick made the former City keeper pull off a great save to his right. Greg Haydon rushed into the six yard box to pick up the rebound but Beach was there again to deny the centre back.
The second half began with most of the play in the middle of the pitch, neither team seemed to be able to carve out chances with City centre backs Bobby Dormer and Greg Haydon keeping out any threat from the Walton & Hersham attack. On the hour mark more drama struck the Spectrum pitch when City midfielder Dan Akinwande was sent off along with Walton & Hershams Louis Taylor, leaving the away side with nine men and City with 10. Chances continued to be few and far between for Guildford as the nine men worked hard to keep the Sweeney out. The Swans captain and City legend Jamie Thoroughgood was key in keeping out the City attacks with Miguel Anderson coming on for Tom Bingham. It appeared that it would take something special to break the deadlock and that something special came in the form of City’s number seven Evan Lopes, when in the 89th minute, he picked up the ball deep inside Walton & Hersham’s half. The skillful winger drove the ball into the penalty area, sending defenders inside and out until he blasted the ball low into the bottom of the net, past the diving Liam Beach. City almost doubled their lead immediately when substitute Marlon Pinder broke away down the right hand side. He drove into the box but his shot was met by the former City keeper who parried the ball into the path of Robbie Mundow who couldn’t convert as Beach dived at his feet. The nine men of Walton & Hersham tried to find an equalizer but Steve Dormer’s 10 men stood firm to gain a valuable three points.
Team: Kallum Lunn, Tom Booth (Marlon Pinder 64), Darryl Siaw (Jake Downs 72), Greg Haydon, Bobby Dormer, Dan Akinwande, Evan Lopes, Shawn Lyle, Tom Bingham (Miguel Anderson 77), Kiye Martin, Robbie Mundow. Unused Subs: Stefon Hayles, Gavin Hawkins.
Referee: Alex Taylor-Rose
Attendance – 110