Pre-Season Update IV including FA Cup and Fixture news
Six weeks has now passed since the commencement of pre-season training. Two more friendlies have taken place during the week, as well as a well-attended training session on Thursday evening. On Tuesday we visited Chessington & Hook United against whom we played two tough FA Cup ties last season. The match was competitive and was played on a back pitch at Chalky Lane. The pitch was flat but with the surface shorn of grass it was a very fast surface on which to play football. Darryl Siaw posed difficulties for the home side in the first half with his forward runs causing problems, and twice he was brought down in the box. The referee twice awarded penalties. Kieran Campbell stepped up to score the first, but his second effort was well saved by the home GK.
Unfortunately, and presumably it was because of the award of the penalties, the home bench thereafter gave the referee and our volunteer linesman a difficult time which somewhat soured the occasion. Chessington looked a more than decent side and largely had the better of the first period which finished 1-1. With the addition off the bench of Miguel Anderson and Kyen Nicholas City improved considerably in the second-half. Darryl Siaw finished off another run with a low shot into the corner, but the home side drew level with a fine lob. City clinched victory with a minute to go when Anderson’s excellent cross was turned home by Kieran Campbell.
On Saturday we visited Horsham YMCA’s Gorings Mead for the third consecutive pre-season. Last season City came away with a 4-0 victory, whilst in the first encounter honours were even at 2-2. On this occasions YMCA looked impressive and were much the stronger side on the day. Two early goals set the scene, and although City had a good 20 minute spell during which Louie Downey hit the post, YMCA went in at the interval 2-0 up. Disappointingly City fell away in the second period with the home side scoring two further goals to clinch 4-0 win. To make matters worse Kyen Nicholas limped off with a foot injury, and Luke Beale was shown a red card which added to five cautions pointed to a slightly over-zealous refereeing performance in what was a pre-season friendly.
As supporters will be aware by now we travel to the Isle of Wight to face Newport (IoW) of the Wessex League in the FA Cup. The match takes place on Saturday 5 August, kicking-off at 3pm. Travel bookings on the “official” trip have now closed and supporters not booked are advised to travel by ferry as foot passengers and take public transport to Newport. By all accounts the lads won’t be short of support on the Island. As well as the 25 fans travelling with the team, we understand that another group from the Woodbridge Hill Club are travelling independently. Similarly we have heard of several Guildford residents who will be holidaying on the Island at that time and will be taking in the game to give their support.
We are now entering the final stages of pre-season with just three pre-season friendlies remaining before the big kick-off. On Tuesday 25 July we play Bagshot on the Army 3G pitch at Queens Avenue, Aldershot GU11 2TD. Kick-off is at 7.15pm. Then on Saturday we travel to Southern Combination League side Newhaven FC at their Trafalgar Ground, Court Farm Road, Newhaven BN9 9DA for a 3pm kick-off. We visited Newhaven in the FA Vase two years ago losing by a solitary late goal. Pre-season then concludes with the Axtell Trophy encounter against our local rivals Godalming Town on Tuesday 2 August, kick-off 7.45pm.
Speaking of fixtures the Combined Counties League fixtures were published this weekend. Because of a late athletics meeting at the Spectrum, the League has kindly agreed for us to start the campaign with three away fixtures. We therefore start with a visit to Alwyns Lane, the home of Chertsey Town, on Saturday 12 August. On Tuesday 15 August we face Division One champions Banstead Athletic at Merland Rise, and on Saturday 19 August or on Tuesday 22 August we will visit Colliers Wood United depending on progress in the FA Cup. Our first match at the Spectrum will be on Saturday 26 August when we entertain Horley Town. We then face Godalming Town at home on the August Bank Holiday Monday, kick-off at 11.30am.