Guildford City (1) 3, AFC Hayes (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City finally got back to winning ways by eventually seeing AFC Hayes off in a tight tussle. The game was played on a cold afternoon but the match was a fairly enterprising affair. The game ebbed back and forth and certainly the visitors enjoyed considerable possession, although without creating too many clear chances. Guildford opened the game brightly and before two minutes were on the clock Dan Stewart had headed Daryl Bryan-Samuels cross into the net. City was lifted by this early success and they continued to push forward. On 11 minutes the visitors got on the scoreboard themselves and the complexion of the game changed. From a corner the ball was half-cleared but was played back towards goal via an acrobatic overhead kick. Goalkeeper Kornel Ziobrowski saved well but the ball fell to Dean McDonnell who tucked home the loose ball. After conceding City were knocked back on their heels and Hayes enjoyed a territorial advantage; several times forcing Ziobrowski into saves from long distance efforts. Gradually as the half came towards its close the impressive Dan Stewart twice attempted long range shots himself. The first produced a comfortable save from Cameron Kennedy, whilst the second effort zipped just wide of the post.
Guildford opened the second-half kicking towards the town end. The home side again opened brightly and within a minute Robbie Mundow went down in the box under pressure but the referee waved away strong claims for a penalty from the City players. A minute later a delicate through pass from Mark Watkins put Dan Stewart through on goal but Kennedy produced an excellent save to keep the scores level. A further minute on and Nathaniel Williams managed to put the ball over the crossbar from a yard out after Jordan Gallagher had done well to get a low cross into the danger area. Many might have been thinking that Guildford had missed their chance to go ahead and certainly Hayes again came into the match. Eventually just after the hour City did get their second goal. From a corner the ball bounced out to the edge of the six yard box where Jordan Gallagher smashed the ball back towards goal where it took a strong deflection into the net. On 71 minutes there was a frightening moment for City fans when Hayes broke forward and Mourad Jarraz poked an effort agonisingly slowly just beyond the post. Kornel Ziobrowski again saved well from long range and certainly the atmosphere was tense as City defended deep against a series of attacks. There was big relief therefore when a fine Stewart pass allowed substitute George Pilbeam sight of goal and he didn’t need asking twice as he shot low into the net past Kennedy. In stoppage time Pilbeam again worked himself a shooting chance which cleared the crossbar, but the relief was palpable when the whistle final blew to end Guildford’s barren spell.
Team: Kornel Ziobrowski, Chris Tancock, Daryl Bryan-Samuels, Luke Beale, David Burton, Robbie Mundow (David Opuku 67), Mark Watkins (George Pilbeam 76), Kiye Martin, Dan Stewart, Jordan Gallagher (Andre Morais 85), Nathaniel Williams.
Referee: Alperen Nayir