Guildford City (1) 1, Banstead Athletic (0) 2
by Barry Underwood
For much of the match this encounter between two top six sides was a tight affair with few clear chances on goal. That it should be decided by an unfortunate own goal with the last kick of the match was a real kick in the teeth for the City players who had given everything for the cause. That said despite the lack of clear efforts on goal Banstead had looked the more likely of the sides in the second period, with more possession and a string of corner kicks. For City there was no doubting the effort expended although it was undoubtedly something of a Jekyll and Hyde performance; an impressive first-half followed by a less impressive second.
On four minutes a fine run from Sean Mason saw his cross into the box met by Benga Ogunseye who was unable to find space for a shot. A minute later City went ahead. Bobby Webbe’s free-kick was met by Dan Band whose glancing header found the back of the net. The visitors did push forward but defensively City looked sound with David Burton especially impressing in front of the back four. Thereafter each side was content with firing free-kicks into their opponent’s penalty areas, which in City’s case saw several crosses go through the danger area without a red shirt getting a touch.
Guildford weren’t quite the same side after the break. Banstead certainly lifted their performance and they enjoyed territorial advantage. Banstead did see a half volley go wide after 49 minutes, but five minutes later they scored an excellent goal to bring the scores level. The ball was played around the front of the box and finding himself in space Paulo Guammeiti fired a powerful effort from 25 yards that gave Stuart Norman no chance. Banstead now looked the more threatening although still without creating further openings, but Guildford were finding it difficult to make attacking headway with Benga Ogunseye as a lone striker struggling to get into the game. With ten minutes remaining Guildford did manage cohesive movement forward. Firstly Tom Griffin set Sean Mason into space on the right but his cross into the box cleared Benga Ogunseye and the threat was cleared. Minutes later a pass forward found the same player. His attempted cross/chip saw Nathaniel Williams get a toe to the ball which spun towards goal and into the hands of Jack Minchin the Banstead keeper. The match had the look of a draw although the visitors saw a header from a late corner just clear the bar. Then calamity for City. City’s defence were slow to clear a hopeful pass into the right channel. Guilty of overplaying the ball was lost. Quickly fired into the penalty area, a touch from the keeper deflected the ball into the path of a defender and the ball finished in the net. With barely time for a restart it was a cruel way to lose a match.
Team: Stuart Norman, Sean Mason, Isy Nzelo, David Burton, Luke Beale, Nemo Adams, Eli Ogunseye (Tom Griffin 65), Dan Band, Benga Ogunseye, Bobby Webbe (Jamie Phillips 62), Nathaniel Williams. Unused subs: Sam Khera, Dan Hurlow, Dominic Easton.
Referee: Chimango Gondwe
Attendance – 55