by Barry Underwood
The cool head of Kieran Campbell who slotted home a penalty kick with nine minutes remaining, and an excellent performance from goalkeeper Luke Badiali, was enough to give Guildford City three points on the season’s opening afternoon. The match was a tight encounter between two evenly matched sides and the home team will undoubtedly feel aggrieved at coming off second best. City for their part weren’t at their sharpest but they were organised defensively and defended with great spirit, and certainly on another day they would have been on the scoreboard in the first half. City was slow to settle at the start and the home side enjoyed territorial advantage. From a flick on Chertsey glanced a header wide from a good position, whilst on 20 minutes Andy Crossley’s strong run forward saw him shoot wide of the post. Just minutes later Luke Badiali reacted brilliantly to save low down from a late deflection. Guildford thought they had taken the lead on 32 minutes. Marlon Pinder curled a tantalising cross into the box which Nemo Adams brilliantly headed home. City’s celebrations were cut short when the linesman indicated Adams was offside which seemed a hugely controversial decision. From a free-kick outside the box Kieran Campbell laid the ball square to Miguel Anderson who couldn’t put his effort on target. Both Kieran Campbell and Nathaniel Williams were bundled over in the box and on another day both incidents might have led to penalties.
Certainly in the second period City upped the ante somewhat. Just after the restart Dan Stewart found space on the edge of the box but his early effort blazed over. The game was end to end and minutes later Nemo Adams got across well to make a fine block at the expense of a corner. Guildford were always a threat moving forward and on 53 minutes Nathaniel Williams picked the ball up deep and ran at the defence before unleashing an effort from 25 yards which Chertsey keeper Chico Ramos saved onto the post. A minute later a similar effort from Miguel Anderson zipped just wide. As the game fluctuated Luke Badiali saved brilliantly tipping a fierce effort over the bar. Louie Downey came close for City, turning Marlon Pinder’s cross just wide of the post. On 64 minutes came the game’s defining moment. Luke Badiali saved another Chertsey effort onto to the bar and from Luke Beale’s clearing header Chertsey volleyed the ball onto the crossbar and over. Would a home goal then have led to a different outcome? The deadlock was finally broken with nine minutes remaining. Josh Coke was brought down as he went past a defender after good work in the lead up by Nemo Adams. Up stepped Kieran Campbell to drill the ball home from the spot. Chertsey went forward in search of an equaliser and a number of high balls into the box caused concern in the late stages. But City’s disciplined approach held and they came away with the three points from the season’s opening match.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Tom Booth, Luke Beale, Nemo Adams, Louie Downey, Marlon Pinder, Miguel Anderson (Chad Goulter 60),Kieran Campbell, Dan Stewart (Josh Coke 71), Nathaniel Williams (Kyen Nicholas 64). Unused subs: David Burton.
Referee: Gareth Mays
Attendance – 75