Knaphill (0) 0, Guildford City (0) 1
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City bounced back from their FA Cup disappointment to deservedly take the three points at Knaphill’s Redding Way. In a fine performance City created a number of chances on goal but in the end, it took an 83rd minute deflected header from Luke Beale to break the deadlock. From early Guildford looked menacing with Evander Lopes, in particular, enjoying himself down the right flank. Mark Watkins broke free on seven minutes and after rounding the keeper his shot was blocked on the line by a covering defender. Lopes himself saw a powerful shot saved by Kieran Greene at the near post at the expense of a corner. On the half-hour Lopes wriggled free in the box and his 15-yard effort was brilliantly saved by Greene at full stretch. The impressive Isy Nzelo immediately crossed into the box but just beyond Mark Watkins. As the game approached the interval City upped the pace. Good work by Dan Stewart saw him create space to crash a shot against the crossbar. A close range David Burton volley was deflected over the bar and on the stroke of half-time, the same player misjudged a close-range header that cleared the crossbar by some distance.
Plenty of chances than in the first period but without scoring would Guildford be made to pay? It looked as if that might happen when the first opportunity after the break saw Knaphill hook a close-range effort over the bar. In response, Dan Stewart twice fashioned openings for City. First, he slid a ball through to Mark Watkins who couldn’t get enough power in his shot, and moments later his cross just eluded the mercurial Lopes. On 63 minutes the visitors won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Mark Watkins effort looked goal bound but struck Stewart and rolled wide. Mark Watkins then saw Greene twice save from a lob and a header, and the question remained would a goal arrive? The next effort on goal when it came was at the other end of the pitch, and Liam Beach made a fantastic diving save to tip a curling effort around the post. With seven minutes remaining the goal finally game. From a near post header, Luke Beale guided the ball towards goal where it was helped in off of a defender. Knaphill piled forward in search of an equaliser and with eight added minutes played nerves were jangling on the sideline. Liam Beach again saved brilliantly and when referee Andy Connor blew the final whistle the players received the adulation of the traveling Sweeney.
Team: Liam Beach, Isy Nzelo, Josh Burrowes, David Burton, Luke Beale, Billy Irving, Evan Lopes, Dan Stewart, Mark Watkins (Ric Campbell 88), Jordan Gallagher (Courage Moda 81), Bobby Webbe (Robbie Mundow 68). Unused subs: Chris Tancock, Nemo Adams.
Referee: Andrew Connor
Attendance – 90