by Barry Underwood
There are some matches in football when you don’t get just reward for the effort expended. This match at Colliers Wood was one of those occasions. It was a match of two halves and Colliers certainly had the better of the first period, but after the interval City turned up the gas and dominated proceedings throughout with some attractive passing football. The only wrinkle in the system was that their copious attempts on goal from all angles missed the target, albeit on occasions very narrowly, whilst the home side broke away and scored from one of their very few attacks in the second half. Certainly the watching Sweeney filed away from Wibbandune after the game highly frustrated for the second consecutive game; a feeling that I am sure is experienced by the players. But there is a long season ahead and performances of the calibre of the second-half will see many more matches won than lost.
After an initial foray where Dave Burton headed wide from a corner, City were pushed back on their heels in the first-half. The home side’s speedy front-men caused problems from early and Mario Embalo shot wide from a good position as early as the third minute. Minutes later Luke Badiali was out well to smother another attempt and it looked ominous for the visitors. It wasn’t all one way though as Guildford looked to attack on the counter; the best chance falling to Kieran Campbell whose difficult volley from Alex Penfold’s cross sliced wide. After the early chances the Guildford defence tightened, soaking up the pressure and forcing United to try their luck from long distance. For City both Chad Goulter and Miguel Anderson saw under hit shots saved comfortably by Sean Fallon, and United in turn did come close when an excellent cross was met by Embalo whose instinctive header cleared the crossbar. Moments before the half-time whistle a United cross zipped straight across the box eluding their strikers and City went in at the interval satisfied that the match was still goalless.
There was a sense right from the start of the second period that Guildford were a different side to the first half. Darryl Siaw came close to connecting with a high ball in the box and on 52 minutes the same player burst through on goal chasing Kieran Campbell’s flick-on. Siaw’s shot was goal bound but the onrushing Fallon made a tremendous save to prevent his side going behind. In a few minutes over the hour period City came close on three occasions. Chris Tancock made a now trademark run forward and saw his low shot whistle just past the far post. Secondly Luke Beale’s header from a Dan Stewart corner was scrambled off the line, and thirdly Nathaniel Williams strong run gave Darryl Siaw the chance to cut in and shoot just over the bar. By now it was all City, and on 70 minutes a deep free-kick from Alex Penfold was met by Dave Burton whose header cleared the bar from close range. Frustratingly Dan Stewart was immediately behind Burton and just might have had a better angle for the header. Disaster then struck for City. In a rare attack forward United found space on the left and from a cross Mario Embalo found himself unmarked at the back post where he calmly slotted the ball home. For the visitors it now became a scramble to claim a point. City were still piling forward but now with an air of desperation. Louie Downey shot wide from the edge of the box, and a Kieran Campbell effort was comfortably saved. With three minutes remaining a fine move saw Chris Tancock set up Campbell but from 15 yards his powerful first time effort smashed past the post. In stoppage time Guildford had one more chance. Kyen Nicholas got to the by-line and his cross was shot wide under pressure by Louie Downey. In many ways it is incredible that a side can have so many chances without scoring, but that is, as they say, football. City players and supporters shouldn’t be too disheartened with this defeat. If City can maintain the same ratio of chances their luck in front of goal will certainly change.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Alex Penfold, Luke Beale, David Burton, Chad Goulter (Louie Downey 62), Darryl Siaw, Miguel Anderson, Kieran Campbell, Dan Stewart (Marlon Pinder 78), Nathaniel Williams (Kyen Nicholas 78). Unused subs: Josh Coke, Adam Heagney.
Referee: Luis Pinto Nunes