Ashford Town (Middx) (1) 1, Guildford City (1) 1
(Guildford won 4-3 on pens)
by Barry Underwood
Manager Chris Balchin was satisfied with his side’s performance at Short Lane last evening, but felt that despite progressing to the next round of the Surrey Cup his side still have a lot more to give. At the end of 90 minutes the two sides couldn’t be separated, and it was in the resulting penalty shoot-out that City won through. Ashford Town, although at Step four, have been struggling like Guildford for form this season. Away from the pressures of their respective leagues this was perhaps a chance for both sides to relax and play some football.
Because of injury and non-availability the Guildford side was down to the bare bones, with no central defenders and four full-backs named in the starting defence. But Guildford opened the game brightly and an early run from Dan Stewart showed a positive intent. Theo Woodhouse also saw a low drive go just wide after a good build up by Cyril Ocansey. On 15 minutes Ashford themselves went close. A break on the left saw a cross shot pushed away by Aaron Bufton, and from the resulting loose ball a shot on the turn went just wide. On 21 minutes the home side took the lead. A long cross from the left was headed in at the back post by ex-City player Robbie Mundow. How would Guildford react to going behind? On this occasion the visitors were soon given a helping hand when Ashford’s Scott Weight was sent off for collecting his second yellow card in just three minutes. Guildford had a great chance to equalise on 33 minutes. Leo Medrado used his strength to win a 50/50 ball on the by-line. The ball was switched to Cyril Ocansey six yards from goal but he delayed long enough to see his effort deflected for a corner. On 39 minutes City deservedly got on the scoreboard. After good work from Cyril Ocansey, Dan Stewart screwed the ball back across the box where Leo Medrado finished impressively drilling first-time into the corner of the net.
Ashford opened the second period impressively and there was a danger that the visitor’s good work in the first-half would be undone. Aaron Bufton saved bravely at a strikers feet whilst minutes later a spectacular header went wide. As the half developed Guildford enjoyed much of the possession. Cyril Ocansey shot wide after a good run, and on 66 minutes a similar run saw his shot with his unfavoured foot comfortably saved by Sam Mason in the home goal. Ashford had a great chance with ten minutes remaining. It was all too easy to bear down on goal from the left and Aaron Bufton was forced to save at the near post. Following up the ball was fired across the six yard box but safely away for a goal kick. In the late stages the game became stretched and City came close to a winner when substitute Nick Keyamo fired a thunderbolt goal wards that Mason did well to parry.
And so the result depended on a penalty shoot-out. Last year at the same stage City lost out to Walton Casuals in similar circumstances. But on this occasion Wayne Ridgley, Ryan Dacres-Smith, Dan Stewart and Theo Woodhouse all fired home successfully, whilst two saves from Aaron Bufton were enough to take Guildford through to the second round.
Team: Aaron Bufton, Isy Nzelo, Josh Ogunseye, Theo Woodhouse, Josh Burrowes, Sean Mason, Cyril Ocansey, Josh Everard (Wayne Ridgley 69), Dan Stewart, Ryan Dacres-Smith, Leo Medrado (Nick Keyamo 79). Unused sub: Dan Hurlow.
Referee: Steven Scott
Attendance – 43