Sutton Common Rovers (1) 3, Guildford City (2) 4
by Barry Underwood
Those present at Gander Green Lane were treated to a real thriller when City defended like lions with 10 men after Dan Stewart was shown a red card after just 28 minutes. SCR dominated possession and territory throughout the match, but time after time they were left frustrated by a brilliant defensive effort. Granted City rode their luck at times and SCR will feel they should have taken something from the game. But there has been no doubting this season what gutsy performances the lads have turned out when the side are up against it. Whilst play was predominantly in Guildford’s half the visitors did show how dangerous they can be on the counter attack. In fact after just 20 seconds City were on the scoresheet! Bobby Webbe’s defence splitting pass into the right channel found Kiye Martin whose first time ball into the box was met by Stefan Joseph who swept the ball home. First blood to City then but it didn’t deter SCR who moved the ball forward quickly, firing plenty of crosses into the box. Twice early on Stuart Norman saved well and it seemed just a matter of time before a home goal came. On 20 minutes SCR shot wide at the back post, but the equaliser came just minutes later. From a free kick on the left the ball found Matt Farrell who turned the ball in from eight yards. Then came the moment that Dan Stewart saw red, and now it was truly a backs to the wall effort. It was Guildford though who retook the lead in a rare foray forward on 37 minutes. Nathaniel Williams cut in from the left and with clever footwork he cut past the full-back, only to be brought down for a clear penalty. Benga Ogunseye stepped up to drill the spot kick home, and despite more scrambling defence in the visitor’s goalmouth it was Guildford who led at the interval.
The second period saw more of the same, although against the odds Guildford scored again to take a two goal lead. From Bobby Webbe’s free-kick Stefan Joseph rose highest to head into the corner. SCR responded forcefully and Phil Page’s free-kick was saved well by Stuart Norman, whilst two other efforts from the home side went wide of the goal. On 65 minutes SCR’s pressure paid off when Matt Farrell volleyed home after a flick-on from a corner. Two minutes later from another corner Matt Farrell completed his hat-trick with a powerful header at the near post. It was all square and the home support was jubilant. Surely now the momentum was with SCR. But City do not roll over easily and on 72 minutes they edged ahead once again. Kiye Martin set Benga Ogunseye sprinting free. As he entered the box he shrugged off a challenge from Rixon-Nichols to push the ball beyond Bogle and into the net. With the heavy pressure it seemed unlikely that City hold on to win. Several goalmouth scrambles saw the ball flying back and forth across the danger area and with four minutes remaining City’s keeper Stuart Norman saved brilliantly three times in a 60 second spell. After five minutes of stoppage time the final whistle went and every player in red and white was a hero.
Team: Stuart Norman, Sean Mason, Josh Burrowes, Dan Stewart, Nemo Adams, Billy Irving, Kiye Martin, Bobby Webbe (Michael Durojaiye 82), Benga Ogunseye, Stefan Joseph (Jamie Phillips 71), Nathaniel Williams. Unused subs: Dominic Easton, Dan Hurlow.
Referee: Nigel Owen
Attendance – 60