Guildford City (1) 2, North Greenford United (0) 1
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City have adjourned to Godalming’s Weycourt ground for their last two home fixtures of the season, and the home of our local rivals is proving to be something of a happy hunting ground. Twice early season City gained impressive FA Cup victories at Weycourt, whilst this CCL fixture against North Greenford should also have resulted in a comfortable win. Greenford for their part are a decent footballing side whose style of play is easy on the eye. They are though hopelessly behind with their fixtures, meaning the games are coming thick and fast with little chance of recovery between matches. City started this match at an express rate and Jordan Gallagher was rampant down the left flank. In just the second minute his dangerous run into the box ended with him brought down and a penalty given. Top scorer Dan Stewart stepped up and drove the spot kick high into the net. Minutes later an identical Gallagher run saw him cut in but this time fire an effort just over the bar. On 11 minutes Gallagher again had space but this time his low cross found Dan Stewart. The ball however was just behind the striker and the chance came to nothing. It wasn’t all one sided and from a free-kick the visitors saw a free header clear the crossbar at the back post. Gradually United got a hold in the game and on 25 minutes a low cross just eluded the impressive Nathaniel Mensah. Twice late in the half skipper for the day Luke Beale twice came close. First his headed attempt from Chris Tancock’s cross cleared the bar, whilst on 34 minutes Beale threw himself at a cross that just eluded him, and also the diving Gallagher.
The second period was more circumspect. City did come close early on when keeper James Harry, in his first match back after a broken leg, dropped a corner. Luke Beale reacted to hook it goal wards but Harry recovered just before the ball crossed the line. United enjoyed good possession but their problem in recent weeks has been scoring goals and until late on they didn’t unduly trouble the home backline. As the game approached the hour mark City scored their important second goal. Jordan Gallagher threaded a tremendous pass through United’s defence and Evan Lopes collected the ball to round Harry and slide the ball into the empty net. Minutes later Gallagher squared the ball to midfielder Jack Battie whose shot from the edge of the box just cleared the crossbar. As the match reached its final stages the visitors finally found some life in an attacking sense. Kornel Ziobrowski was forced to tip over a long-range effort, and on 81 minutes he was forced to save low down. Two minutes later and United were on the scoreboard. Fine interplay on the left edge of the box gave Mensah the chance to shoot home. With three minutes remaining the visitors spooned an effort over the bar from six yards but an equaliser then would have been cruel on Guildford. As the game went into stoppage time Jordan Gallagher, who enjoyed an exceptional match, received a great pass from Kiye Martin giving him chance to round Harry but his goal bound effort was blocked by a desperate defender. Joint man of the match with Gallagher was David Burton who started a match for the first time since January. His performance in a holding midfield role was a revelation.
Team: Kornel Ziobrowski, Chris Tancock, Josh Burrowes (Will Kouadio 77), Luke Beale, Kieran Wright, David Burton (Shawn Clement-Peter 70), Jack Battie, Kiye Martin, Evan Lopes (Nathaniel Williams 66), Dan Stewart, Jordan Gallagher. Unused subs: David Opoku, Robbie Mundow.
Referee: Stephen Matthews
Attendance – 68