Hanworth Villa (3) 5, Guildford City (2) 4
by Barry Underwood
Those present at the Ranch on Saturday witnessed a thriller of a goal-fest. Sadly for Guildford City they came out second best but it was yet another match that the Surrey side didn’t deserve to lose. Guildford’s players, officials and supporters must surely be checking the whereabouts of their good luck charms, examining their pre-match rituals or wondering if someone has placed a curse on the club. Make no mistake Hanworth Villa are a more than useful side, but City created more attempts on goal, had a “goal” dubiously disallowed, and hit the woodwork three times! Game after game City are experiencing similar bad luck which is testing the character of players and fans alike. Only once this season has Guildford been outplayed and deserved to lose, and surely to goodness this run of bad fortune will change soon.
With Kieran Campbell and Francois Gabbidon suspended, and with Tom Booth, Louie Downey, Kiye Martin and Miguel Anderson out injured, City still fielded a strong looking line-up. Dan Stewart enjoyed leading the line, and on four minutes his strength took him goal side momentarily and his early shot went wide of the target. The visitor’s almost gifted Villa a goal and Luke Badiali had to be alert to block an effort after a short back-pass. On 16 minutes debutant Mark Watkins saw his 25 yard free-kick saved onto the post by the diving Thomas (picture above). A minute later City took a deserved lead when Robbie Mundow turned in Chris Tancock’s low cross. City had little time to enjoy their lead when on 19 minutes Jack Mills superbly flighted a direct free-kick into the far corner. On the half hour Hanworth nudged ahead when the speedy Cyril Ocansey timed a run into space well and turned the ball past Badiali. Guildford thought they had responded within minutes when Thomas failed a hold a shot and Mark Watkins bundled the ball over the line at the far post, but the linesman had seen an infringement and the effort was ruled out. City did eventually draw level on 39 minutes, and again it came from a cross from the overlapping Tancock. This time Dan Stewart found space and his effort from 12 yards deflected into the top of the net. Sadly the home side scored on the cusp of the interval and again it was a superb free-kick from Jack Mills; this time his effort finding the other corner.
With five goals in the first half no one could argue at the entertainment value. A minute into the half a Dan Stewart volley was well held by Thomas, and minute’s later City twice came close. Nathaniel Williams dipping 25 yarder was spectacularly saved by Thomas, and Mark Watkins curling effort glanced off the crossbar. To really rub it in Hanworth then won a contentious penalty decision. Luke Beale won the tackle and a full two seconds later Ocansey went down over Beale’s prostrate body. A penalty was remarkably awarded and Jack Buckle stepped up to find the corner to make it 4-2. On 57 minutes Robbie Mundow reduced the arrears when he scored direct from a 25 yard free-kick. There was still half an hour to play and any result was possible. Sadly though a poor clearance gave Francis Darko a clear shooting opportunity that he took to regain Villa’s two goal advantage. City did push forward in the late stages. Jordan Gallagher saw a shot just clear the crossbar and with 15 minutes still remaining City themselves won a penalty with Robbie Mundow fouled as he turned on the edge of the box. Dan Stewart stepped up to convert from the spot and bring the deficit back to one. In the frantic last ten minutes Luke Badiali saved well with his legs, whilst Dan Stewart saw an effort blocked at point blank range. In the final few moments Jordan Gallagher went down in the box and was booked for simulation when there seemed to be clear contact. To sum up City’s misfortune Dan Stewart’s header at the back stick hit the post and it just wasn’t to be. Guildford clearly gave everything and the travelling Sweeney had good cause to cheer their players off at he final whistle, despite the gross disappointment of another defeat.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Shawn Johnson (Daryl Bryan-Samuels 60), Luke Beale, Nemo Adams, David Opuku, Nathaniel Williams, Robbie Mundow, Mark Watkins, Dan Stewart, Jordan Gallagher. Unused subs: David Burton, Shawn Masterson.
Referee: Lawrence Torz-Brown