Egham Town (2) 2, Guildford City (0) 2
by Barry Underwood
“It was a game of two halves” is an over-used phrase in football reportage. But that’s just what this game at a soggy Runneymede Stadium was. Guildford looked on the back foot for much of the first period, and at times indeed they looked at sixes and sevens. But a late rally in the first-half and a superb performance in the second changed the course of the game. In the very first minute Egham had a shot blocked in a dangerous area, although almost immediately Benga Ogunseye and Marlon Pinder combined to create an opening that was quickly closed by alert defenders. Youcef Azzouz then saw a misdirected cross tipped over the bar at full stretch by Luke Daley, and there were soon strong shouts for a handball in the box following a City corner. But thereafter Egham took control of the half. After a quick break a shot was blazed over the bar, and on eight minutes an Egham cross from the left was headed over the bar. On 16 minutes the home side went ahead, and it was really no surprise that they did so. Throughout the match Egham looked dangerous from their quality set-piece delivery, and a deep free-kick into the Guildford area saw young goalkeeper Zack Basey out muscled in a high challenge, and the ball fell to Tyrone Pink to rifle home. Egham went further ahead on 29 minutes and on this occasion Basey was caught in no-mans-land and the ball was lobbed over him for Kiemon Robinson to win the race to slot home. Somewhat against the run of play Guildford won a penalty with 10 minutes remaining of the half. The ball came across the box and Kieran Williams was fouled in the act of shooting. Up stepped the in-form Benga Ogunseye but untypically his effort from the spot comfortably cleared the crossbar. At that stage it seemed it just wasn’t to be Guildford’s evening. But the penalty did seem to spark an improved showing and seconds before the half-time whistle a kind rebound fell to Marlon Pinder, but his effort was comfortably saved.
The first act of the second period saw City fail to clear their lines and Egham shoot the resulting loose ball over the target. Had that been a goal the evening might well have resulted in a different result. But six minutes after the restart Guildford were back in the game and the momentum changed. Theo Woodhouse found Marlon Pinder with a header. Pinder saw Benga Ogunseye in plenty of space to his right, and Ogunseye made no mistake firing in powerfully past Daley. The next half hour saw a blue and yellow tide constantly advancing on the Egham goal. Within minutes Ogunseye saw another effort blocked as he and Pinder became a constant menace to the home defence. On the hour Cyril Ocansey headed Woodhouse’s cross just wide, shortly to be followed by the same player bursting into space and giving Marlon Pinder a shooting chance. It wasn’t Pinder’s day in the shooting stakes and his effort was blocked. A similar quick break led to City drawing level, on 70 minutes. The ball was played across the box and Benga Ogunseye won the race to reach it but was upended by an unfortunate Daley. For the second time in the game the referee pointed to the spot and this time Benga made no mistake. Guildford still streamed forward, and an unlikely win seemed on the cards. Incredibly Josh Ogunseye was clearly tripped in the box, but the referee decided against awarding a third penalty. In the late stages both Cyril Ocansey and Marlon Pinder had chances that were spurned, whilst with three minutes remaining Benga Ogunseye tried to set up a better placed colleague but that chance too was lost. To their credit Egham fought back in the final moments of the game, and twice Zack Basey made excellent saves to ensure City left the Runneymede stadium with a deserved point.
Team: Zack Basey, Sean Mason, Isy Nzelo, Theo Woodhouse, Nemo Adams, Josh Burrowes, Youcef Azzouz (Josh Ogunseye 72), Ryan Dacres-Smith (Wayne Ridgley 79), Benga Ogunseye, Marlon Pinder, Kieran Williams (Cyril Ocansey 51). Unused subs: Josh Everard, Bobby Webbe.
Referee: Dele Sotimirin