Guildford City (2) 4, Epsom & Ewell (0) 3
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City made hard work of claiming the three points but in the end win the game they did. Full credit to the visitors who are destined for the drop but fought hard and for periods out enthused the home side, winning loose balls and 50:50 challenges. That said Guildford could have wrapped the game up early. After just three minutes Luke Beale flicked home a Jack Battie corner to put City ahead. Within several further minutes they twice came close again. Following a neat move on the left Dan Stewart drove in on goal but his early effort sliced well wide of the target. Minutes later Dan Stewart evaded the offside trap and appeared through on goal but Alex McKay recovered brilliantly to make a tremendous tackle. Former City striker Kyen Nicholas looked lively from the off for the visitors, and on 15 minutes he picked the ball up on the halfway line and headed goal ward, brushing off challenges on the way. Fortunately for City his final effort went wide of the post. Five minutes later Nicholas also saw a shot from the edge of the box go just wide. Play was scrappy but it was Guildford who put together a clever move minutes before the break which saw Robbie Mundow breaking into the box where he was brought down. Dan Stewart stepped up to slot home the penalty, although Conor Young did get a strong hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out of the net.
The second half was a more open affair and Nathaniel Williams had a good chance to edge City further ahead when he cut in but unleashed a shot that cleared the bar. The home side were rocked on 50 minutes when their comfortable position was disturbed. A defensive back pass was played well short and Kyen Nicholas latched onto the ball to comfortably beat Kornel Ziobrowski. Guildford had a golden chance to respond immediately when a Stewart/Battie combination found Jordan Gallagher free in front of goal. He didn’t do too much wrong as his low effort was brilliantly saved by Young. Despite this Guildford were unable to lift their game and when on 66 minutes a free-kick was conceded in a deep area there were danger signs. The free-kick drifted to the far post where Kyen Nicholas headed home joyfully to bring the scores level. Fortunately for Guildford scoring that goal was virtually Nicholas’s last involvement in the game before departing with injury. Who would step up now to claim the game? With fifteen minutes remaining a fine Josh Burrowes run and shot saw Young fail to hold the ball, and substitute Evan Lopes was alert enough to shoot home the rebound. City had some breathing space and on 87 minutes they went further ahead when Lopes put Dan Stewart through and he deftly side footed home. As so often with City life was made a little harder in stoppage time when Liam Roberts routine shot went under Ziobrowski’s diving body and into the net. City saw the rest of the game out and will know they will have to play better on future occasions.
Team: Kornel Ziobrowski, Chris Tancock, Josh Burrowes, Luke Beale, Kieran Wright, David Opoku (Kiye Martin 56), Jack Battie, Robbie Mundow, Jordan Gallagher, Dan Stewart, Nathaniel Williams (Evander Lopes 70). Unused sub: Will Kouadio.
Referee: Tom Holden