Guildford City (0) 1, Knaphill (1) 3
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City’s involvement in this season’s FA Cup competition came to a disappointing conclusion at the Spectrum on Saturday. City’s flowing football seen in recent matches deserted them against local neighbours who defended in numbers, doubling up on the home side’s dangerous wide players, and in general giving Guildford no quarter. City were slow to start, and indeed looked lack lustre for much of the first period. It didn’t help their cause that they went behind after just four minutes, when Dan Taylor was brought down in the box and Jimmy Norman stepped up to put Knaphill ahead from the penalty spot. Conceding an early goal might have sparked City into life, and although they had decent possession, they were unable to seriously threaten the visitor’s goal. It looked as if Knaphill would nudge further ahead when the elusive Gavin Muir escaped Chris Tancock’s clutches, but the City full-back recovered brilliantly to get back and block Muir’s effort on goal. On the half-hour City did put together a fine passing move and both Nathaniel Williams and Kieran Campbell couldn’t create the space for a shot. The move concluded when the ball was laid back to Chris Tancock whose first time effort whistled inches wide of the left hand post. Guildford did win a free-kick just outside the Knaphill box but Kieran Campbell’s effort sailed over the crossbar. Too often it seemed that it was the visitors who were winning the second balls, and Chris Balchin will have taken his charges into the dressing room at half-time ready to lift them for an improved second-half.
Guildford did come close in the opening minutes of the second period. Luke Beale’s cross was met by Dan Stewart whose header was deflected wide. From the resulting corner the loose ball pinged around the box before play was halted for an injury to Knaphill keeper Richard Shelley. Guildford drew level after 56 minutes when within minutes of entering play as a substitute, Darryl Siaw was body checked as he entered the box and referee Alex James had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Kieran Campbell to net from the spot for his seventh goal of the season. For some ten minutes it seemed likely that City would go on to win the game. Knaphill though had other ideas, and when City missed several opportunities to clear the ball, Dan Taylor turned and fired in a shot which went in off the post from the edge of the box. Probably the games defining moment came within minutes of Guildford falling behind. Chad Goulter smashed a 30 yarder against the crossbar, from which the rebound shot straight up into the air. As the ball dropped into the goalmouth the predatory Kieran Campbell appeared to beat the challenge of Shelley to head home for the equaliser. Referee James appeared to initially give the goal, but in the confusion it became clear that the “goal” had been disallowed for handball. Subsequent on the spot photographs seemed to suggest that the goal should have stood, and in that instant City’s hopes faded. As the home side started to push forward gaps appeared which Knaphill were looking to exploit. The match was finally put to bed with six minutes remaining. City’s defence was stretched on a Knaphill counter-attack, and from a free-kick just outside the box, set-piece ace Jimmy Norman curled a superb effort into the top corner. In the closing moments Knaphill’s well marshalled defence kept City at bay, and sadly Guildford’s FA Cup run came to a rather sad end.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Ben Franklin, Luke Beale, Nemo Adams (David Burton 79), Louie Downey (Darryl Siaw 56), Marlon Pinder, Chad Goulter, Kieran Campbell, Dan Stewart, Nathaniel Williams (Josh Coke 83). Unused subs: Miguel Anderson, Kyen Nicholas.
Referee: Alex James
Attendance – 198