Guildford City (0) 1, Spelthorne Sports (2) 2
by Barry Underwood
One wonders whether during last year’s absence from their home ground a curse or voodoo spell was cast on the Spectrum playing surface, because it is inexplicable how Guildford have yet to win a home match this season. In this instance, in a match played in filthy wet conditions, City came up against a decent Spelthorne side who dominated possession in the first half, and what ball the home side did have was too often squandered. Losing two defenders to injury in the first 35 minutes didn’t help matters, and some highly questionable refereeing decisions in the second-half meant for a difficult day. The early stages saw several long range efforts from the visitors go wide of the target before they took the lead on 16 minutes. Martin-Thomas who looked dangerous wide out fired an excellent low cross into the area and Billy Frost was on hand to tuck the ball home from close range. On the half hour Spelthorne went two ahead. A goalkeeper’s long clearance glanced off of Theo Woodhouse’s head and after cutting inside Nathaniel Mensah rifled home a powerful effort. With debutant Dennis Gorman and Billy Irving by now in the treatment room this was going to be an uphill task. Late in the half Dan Stewart saw a volley go just wide but City would have to create a lot more if they were to get back into the game.
To be fair to the home side they gave it their all in the second period in what was a vastly improved performance. Their intent was shown was Wayne Ridgley fired an early shot over the bar. A minute later a Kieran Campbell thunderbolt struck a defenders hand in the box but the referee who was well placed ruled out an infringement. On 53 minutes after a flowing move Eli Ogunseye forced Henry Poole into a flying save and there was real hope that City would get back in the game. The momentum changed when Wayne Ridgley was shown a second yellow card and departed the action. On another day both cautions wouldn’t have happened and Ridgley could count himself very unlucky. With 20 minutes remaining Spelthorne twice came close but Guildford still forced themselves forward. Cyril Ocansey beat a defender in the box but his powerful effort was saved again spectacularly by Poole. Perhaps the turning point came with seven minutes left on the clock. A Kiyanu Pillay cross was met crisply on the volley by Dan Stewart but Henry Poole made the save of his life to stop the ball entering the net. The loose ball however was netted by Eli Ogunseye for what everyone present thought was a goal. Keeper Poole stayed prostrate however and the referee quickly concluded there must have been a foul and the goal was ruled out. Subsequent viewing of a film of the action shows what we knew at the time that there was no contact between the keeper and Ogunseye and the goal should have stood. Mind you another questionable refereeing decision denied Spelthorne in the final minutes; a foul was awarded on the edge of the box but the ball had subsequently been put in the net. Guildford did net a late consolation and it came from an unlikely source. Goalkeeper Aaron Bufton was up for a stoppage time corner and he promptly headed the ball into the net. Another game without a win but a much improved second-half. Some very disappointing refereeing decisions, with little regard it would seem for the very difficult playing conditions.
Team: Aaron Bufton, Billy Irving (Kiyanu Pillay 37), Isy Nzelo, Theo Woodhouse, Dennis Gorman (Josh Burrowes 18), Sean Mason, Cyril Ocansey, Wayne Ridgley, Kieran Campbell (Luke Donellan 70), Dan Stewart, Eli Ogunseye. Unused sub: Dan Hurlow.
Referee: Josh Osofa
Attendance – 55