Guildford City (0) 4, Balham (0) 0
by Harry Vidgen
Guildford City were looking to bounce back after losing their three previous games. Mark Watkins and Stefan Joseph signed from Redhill started the game as Chris Balchin scrambles to sign players prior to the transfer deadline. Guildford started brightly as just nine minutes in, Nemo Adams, who played this game in centre midfield, tussled his way through the midfield and hit a looped ball to Stefan Joseph who’s unfortunate first time volley sailed well wide of the goal. Down the other end, Balham nearly opened the scoring as Andre Cruz-Rosa found himself alone in the box and attempted a flick that flew over the keeper but luckily Josh Burrowes was there and cleared the ball off the line. Mark Watkins was in exciting form and he showed that with a delightful free kick into the box 13 minutes in, but Nemo Adams and Luke Beale got in each other’s way and the ball ended up going out for a Balham goal kick. Joseph and Watkins linked up well in the first half, and on one of those occasions Mark Watkins latched onto a brilliant cross-field ball by Joseph but his effort was scuffed and the goalkeeper easily gathered. In defence Luke Beale diced with danger as he sliced into Balham’s No.10 just centimetres outside of his own penalty area. The Balham captain, Dan David stepped up and although his free kick was well struck, it didn’t cause Stuart Norman any trouble. Late in the half Mark Watkins had a good goal-scoring chance and he was unfortunate once again as he found himself free in the Balham penalty box but he couldn’t sort his feet out in time and he hit the ball into the ground which made it easy for the 16 year old Balham keeper to save low to his left. All square at the break.
The second half began and Balham squandered a glaring opportunity to go ahead. Balham’s Dan Forde was put through down the right and he charged into the box and his powerful effort was saved by Stuart Norman who parried the ball straight into the path of right back, Dom Simpson-Last, who, with the goal gaping, blazed the ball well over the bar from only a few yards out. The 53rd minute then brought with it the first goal of the game. Guildford won a throw deep in Balham territory and it was collected on the right by Sean Mason who delivered a delightful cross into the box that Mark Watkins met with a powerful, downwards header into the bottom right corner. Finally, a goal for the man who in my opinion, had been the stand out performer so far. After the deadlock, the game opened up and chances began to flow more frequently. Balham were clearly beginning to fade and this only fed into Guildford’s hunger and desire to win. Guildford doubled their lead in the 64th minute as Guildford created a fine passing move that was simple but simply devastating. Benga Ogunseye controlled the ball near the half way line, looked up and slid a brilliant through ball to Nathaniel Williams down the right who squared it across the box for Stefan Joseph who gleefully side footed it home.
The third goal came shortly after as there was a mix up in the Balham defence as the ball was passed straight to Benga Ogunseye who was instrumental once again as he split the Balham defence open with another through ball. Mark Watkins ran onto it and with the Balham backline out of sight showed a touch of skill as he easily took it round the goalkeeper and rolled it home. Guildford were not done yet however as they piled the pressure onto Balham and in the 83rd minute the final goal came. David Burton, who had earlier hit the crossbar, and who had also been a stand out player, muscled his way into the box before passing to Benga Ogunseye who’s first time shot was parried into the path of Nathaniel Williams who took his time to readjust his feet and then slammed the ball into the back of the net to put Guildford 4-0 up. A truly phenomenal display from a much improved Guildford City side who were emphatic on a day where they seemed to work as a real unit, all fighting to achieve a common goal. What a result.
Team: Stuart Norman, Sean Mason, Isy Nzelo (Billy Irving 70), David Burton, Luke Beale, Josh Burrowes, Mark Watkins (Michael Durojaiye 75), Nemo Adams, Benga Ogunseye, Stefan Joseph, Nathaniel Williams (Dan Hurlow 85). Unused sub: Dominic Easton
Referee: Tom Simmons
Attendance – 43