Guildford City (1) 1, Spelthorne Sports (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City’s run of consecutive wins was broken at the Spectrum on Saturday with a disappointing display against Spelthorne Sports. The visitors are in fact something of a bogey side for City as in their six encounters since Spelthorne’s arrival in the premier division, City have taken but a single point. Spelthorne had reached the final of the Middlesex Charity Cup on Thursday evening and one might have been forgiven that tiredness would have crept into their performance. But there were no signs of exhaustion as from the kick-off the visitors looked the livelier of the sides. It didn’t stop City taking a ninth minute lead though. Jordan Gallagher took possession wide out on the left but cut in before unleashing a tremendous effort from 35 yards that flew into the net. The lead didn’t last long however as four minutes later Lewis Flatman had space at the far post to hook home an awkwardly bouncing ball. Guildford seemed strangely flat and despite several good openings in the first half they didn’t show enough urgency to work the goalkeeper. Shawn Clement-Peter’s tremendous pass saw Nathaniel Williams first touch take him past the Sports keeper, only to see the a fine cover tackle prevent him sliding the ball home. Kornel Ziobrowski was called into spectacular action saving a close range header on 21 minutes. City could have scored minutes later when Nathaniel Williams beat three players on the left before laying the ball to Dan Stewart, who moved the ball on once more to Kiye Martin who delayed his effort in front of goal and the chance came to nothing. On the half hour Spelthorne came perilously close when substitute Dan Brown headed inches over the bar with his first touch. Dan Stewart similarly found himself with a shooting chance but in trying to get himself on his favoured foot the chance was lost. Kiye Martin and Shawn Clement-Peter both attempted long range efforts on goal, whilst late in the half Jake Flatman got free but pressure from the covering Chris Tancock hindered his shot on goal which was saved comfortably by Ziobrowski.
Spelthorne’s build up play was faster and it wasn’t a great surprise when they took the lead on 52 minutes, and what a goal it was. Again it was Jake Flatman who was allowed to control his goalkeeper’s clearance, and seemingly with no other options he delicately lobbed Kornel Ziobrowski, who standing at 6ft 2ins was no mean feat. Guildford’s attacking play was limited but Jack Battie was unlucky not to score from a 62nd minute free-kick. Goalkeeper Aaron Oakes appeared to have the shot covered but it slipped through his hands and hit the post and was cleared. The introduction of Evan Lopes off the bench certainly livened City up with his tricky footwork causing some consternation in the Sports defence. With 20 minutes remaining an enterprising forward run from Chris Tancock saw his curling effort drift just wide. Then sadly Luke Beale saw red. Beale, in the process of being fouled himself, was somewhat unluckily shown red for kicking out as he went to ground. As so often happens the team with 10 men now lifted their game. A smart move between Lopes and fellow substitute Dave Burton created a half chance that Dan Stewart was unable to put away. With four minutes remaining Evan Lopes ran strongly into the box but Oakes saved his low shot brilliantly with his legs. In stoppage time, and from an identical position, another Jack Battie free-kick rattled the woodwork and it was apparent at that point that it just wasn’t going to be Guildford’s day.
Team: Kornel Ziobrowski, David Opoku (David Burton 80), Josh Burrowes, Luke Beale, Chris Tancock, Shawn Clement-Peter (Nemo Adams 57), Jack Battie, Kiye Martin, Jordan Gallagher, Dan Stewart, Nathaniel Williams (Evan Lopes 66). Unused subs: Kieran Wright, Will Kouadio.
Referee: Lawrence Torz-Brown
Attendance – 64