AFC Hayes (1) 1, Guildford City (1) 3
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City battled to a hard-earned victory at Farm Park yesterday. The home side for their part will be bitterly disappointed not to have taken something from a hard-fought game. Certainly it was hard to credit how Hayes are currently sitting at the foot of the table. Full credit to City however. This was not their finest example of free-flowing football, but certainly they worked extremely hard to ensure a positive result didn’t get away from them. It’s not that there weren’t some memorable moments and Bobby Webbe’s free-kick for the second goal was a major highlight of the day.
It was a glorious autumnal afternoon with low sun causing some viewing difficulties from one end of the pitch. Lifted by the good conditions, Hayes came flying out of the traps at the start of the game with City taking some time to settle. Indeed in the third minute the home side headed wide from a good position. Gradually though the visitors worked their way into the game, and on nine minutes Eli Ogunseye caused the first moment of consternation in the home box with a determined run and shot with the outside of his foot that just cleared the crossbar. There was a controversial moment shortly after when City had strong claims for a penalty waved away. The impressive Dan Band nudged the ball past a defender at the back post but was clearly pulled back as he moved to shoot just three yards out from goal. City are on one of those runs currently having four strong penalty appeals waved away in their last three matches. Guildford looked dangerous down the flanks and from an excellent Josh Burrowes cross Eli Ogunseye’s effort at the near post was lifted just over the bar. It was far from one way traffic though and the home side responded with a low cross from their danger man Victor Montes that zipped straight across the six yard box. City keeper Liam Beach also made an excellent save plucking a shot out from the top corner. Guildford had a glorious chance to take the lead on the half hour. Bobby Webbe dispossessed the last defender but chose to shoot early when he might have passed to the luckless Benga Ogunseye. City did eventually find the back of the net on 33 minutes. It started from good defensive work by Sean Mason and ended with an excellent low cross across the box from Bobby Webbe that was met by Eli Ogunseye at the back post. As the half came to a close Hayes pushed forward again. They saw a header from close range miss the target but on 44 minutes they had more luck when Victor Montes’s shot from outside the box took a deflection that lifted it over Beach and into the net for the equaliser.
The second half was more of an attritional battle. Within minutes of the restart Bobby Webbe couldn’t time his volley from Benga Ogunseye’s cross and the chance looped wide. Webbe also saw a 25 yard effort comfortably saved by Sam House. Guildford then spent a period on the back foot and on 54 minutes Hayes came close when an effort following a free-kick went wide. Shortly after Billy Irving made an excellent covering tackle to prevent another Hayes effort on goal. Liam Beach also saved brilliantly an effort that seemed to be heading for the corner. Gradually the threat started to subside and Nathaniel Williams, on from the bench, started to see a lot of ball on the left. From one Williams cross Eli Ogunseye volleyed a powerful effort over the bar. On 74 minutes City took a lead they weren’t to lose. Bobby Webbe advanced dangerously with the ball and was brought down 25 yards from goal. With little adieu Webbe lifted the ball over the wall and into the top corner for an exceptional goal. Leading by just one goal caused some nerves amongst the travelling Sweeney. Nerves that were heightened when Montes found himself free in the box, only for Luke Beale to make a match-winning tackle. Then in stoppage time the nerves were finally eased. Bobby Webbe was again brought down outside the box. This time his free-kick ballooned up off the wall and into the net for a fortunate goal. It was another three points gained showing that not only can the team play good football; they can dig deep when required as well.
Team: Liam Beach, Sean Mason, Josh Burrowes, David Burton, Billy Irving (Nemo Adams 75), Luke Beale, Elijah Ogunseye, Dan Band (Nathaniel Williams 59), Benga Ogunseye (Alex Cooper 90), Bobby Webbe, Evan Lopes. Unused sub: Isy Nzelo, Kyen Nicholas.
Referee: Mark Edwards
Attendance – 53