Walton Casuals (2) 3, Guildford City (0) 2
by Barry Underwood
There is something terribly British about praising a performance in defeat. And full credit needs to be given for a fighting City performance in defeat against their Step 3 opponents in the Southern Combination Cup. As expected, Walton were comfortable on the ball, and they moved the ball quickly about the pitch. But for long periods City matched them, and they certainly had an equal number of chances. As early as the third minute Guildford had a sniff of the target; a long throw was flicked on and just eluded the lurking Dan Stewart. Walton quickly responded and Zack Basey was forced to save well. Twice in the early stages Cyril Ocansey posed problems to the home defence. First from Dacres-Smith’s pass he crossed from the by-line, but Dan Stewart was impeded as he raced for the ball. From the resulting free-kick Ocansey’s shot was charged down. Second on 13 minutes Ocansey got goal side of the defence and his shot from an angle was saved by keeper Alex Toknczyk’s legs. Hesitation in the visitor’s defence forced Basey into another good save, but on 20 minutes there was no stopping the overlapping Jude Mason who took Cheyce Grant’s pass in his stride to shoot home for 1-0. Guildford were playing well though and passing the ball around the pitch nicely. They had strong claims for a penalty waved away when Dan Harding went down as he attacked a cross on the edge of the six-yard box. The home side went two ahead on 36 minutes. Unusually too much space was given defensively, and Grant had time and space to shoot home.
The first 10 minutes of the second period saw action at both ends. Firstly, Cyril Ocansey found himself in space in the box but in attempting the perfect shooting position he screwed his effort wide. Walton responded immediately by striking the City crossbar and followed it up five minutes later by hitting the bar again, although there appeared to have a been a clear foul on a City player in the build-up. Billy Irving and Leevan Sullivan were huge in the City defence, and the former made an excellent covering tackle to prevent another shooting chance. On 68 minutes Walton went 3-0 up when the powerful figure of Rene Howe smashed a loose ball home in the box. City fans were a little despondent as their team’s performance didn’t deserve the heavy beating that appeared to be coming their way. City tried to respond again and Ryan Dacres-Smith bursting out of midfield saw his long-range effort comfortably saved. On 77 minutes the Walton keeper didn’t have the same fortune. Dan Stewart this time burst forward, and his 25-yard effort sizzled into the bottom corner of the net. This gave Guildford even more impetus and minutes later Billy Irving headed inches wide of goal from a free-kick. There was a hint of another Walton handball on the edge of the area under pressure from Stewart, but the officials again waved play on. As City piled forward in the late stages Dan Stewart hooked a left foot shot over the bar, before with two minutes remaining there was a major claim for a penalty when a Walton defender handled as he attempted to clear. For a third time the referee remained unmoved. On 89 minutes Kieran Campbell slid in to convert Ocansey’s cross to make for a tense finish. As hard as they tried City couldn’t complete their recovery, but they will take much away from this excellent performance.
Team: Zack Basey, Sean Mason, Alex Cooper (Isy Nzelo 75), Ryan Dacres-Smith, Leevan Sullivan, Billy Irving, Cyril Ocansey, Wayne Ridgley (Josh Everard 46), Dan Stewart, Dan Harding, Josh Ogunseye (Kieran Campbell 61). Unused subs: Theo Woodhouse, Stuart Norman.
Referee: Tom Simmons