Banstead Athletic 0 – 2 Guildford City

CITY completed the double over Banstead in this win over yet another side which played well above its league position.  Guildford weathered some spirited attacks from the A’s but grabbed the vital first goal around the half hour mark – a great pass feeding Harrison Carnegie to fire past Brady in the Banstead goal.  The home side grew stronger as the match progressed however and subjected City to a period of sustained pressure which they were crucially unable to capitalise on.  Danny Elgar then grabbed the killer goal with a wonderful shot from outside the area which curled over the keeper.

The journey to this match was made much less dull by the addition of Brian the kitman to our travelling party plus the many stories of student Chris T’s drunken exploits of the night before which had seem him empty the contents of his stomach into a lift – yes somehow he was at the match!!  Brian meanwhile kept us regaled with his views on slow drivers and Tina Turner (“nice legs but face like a bulldog”!)  It was almost a shame to arrive and send the City kitman to his duties which included giving “The Three Amigos” (aka Harrison, Jack Turner and Cory) an ear-bashing for being late AGAIN!!

Anyway when we finally kicked off on a surprisingly serviceable pitch given all the rain, Guildford started the stronger.  Within the first five minutes Anthony Bridgeman had won a corner which had been put over for a goalkick and a nice slide rule pass from the impressive James Brown had been missed by Elvis and fired into the mitts of the keeper by Carnegie.  The home side soon started looking lively however and Tom Penson did extremely well to block a cross from Shane Sinclair in the 8th minute.  The A’s won a corner soon after but Ross White headed well wide.  A minute later a good cross from the home side was met by an extremely ambitious volley and Hall watched as the ball sailed over the bar.  Guildford were looking good whenever they went forward however and Brown once again impressed in the 15th minute with a good run to the edge of the area and a cross which rebounded to Danny Elgar – unfortunately the City midfielder could only shoot wide.  After an awful cross from Sinclair a few moments later, Guildford again looked dangerous – McLeod, Carnegie and Knight combining in an impressive passing move but with no end product.

If City were good going forward, they were let down by their defensive play.  In the 19th minute Hall had to be on top form to save a shot after a lapse of concentration in the centre of defence and a moment later, after a dodgy backpass, he had to come off his line quickly to clear the ball from danger.  After a Guildford freekick on the edge of the box which Simon Cooper nearly got his head to, Banstead went on the attack in the 29th minute courtesy of a blistering run from their winger Alistaire John.  He really looked like he was going to score a wonder goal but he ran out of steam and his shot went well wide.  The A’s must have been cursing their poor finishing just a few minutes later when Guildford finally finished off a flowing move.  This time it was Bridgey who tore forward with Carnegie running to his right in support.  Bridgeman waited for the defender to commit and then put Carnegie through with a perfectly weighted ball.  Harrison did what he should do a lot more often and finished perfectly into the far corner from around 10 yards out.

City’s goal was not the turning of the tide that we expected however and it is fair to say that the home side were pretty much on top for the rest of the half.  The lively Sinclair again breached the visitors’ defence in the 37th minute but was prevented from scoring courtesy of another saving tackle from Cooper.  The pressure did not let up but Danny Elgar did not help, launching a poorly directed pass straight into the path of one of their forwards – the ball ping-ponging in the area before finally being cleared.   Freekicks followed for both sides, both in promising positions, but neither could forge any more chances before the break.

There must have been a fair bit of crockery broken in the Guildford changing room at half time as City emerged with far more purpose when the second period began.  From the kick off the visitors took control and after a powerful run, Bridgey laid off to Elgar who fired a superb shot from the edge of the area which Brady in the Banstead goal did extremely well to put behind.  A foul by a City player during the corner then gifted possession back to the home side.

The next twenty minutes were nerve-wracking for us all as City forgot their new found sense of purpose and allowed their hosts to dictate the play – particularly after two good substitutions.  They were not helped by some poor positioning which meant an offside flag seeming to greet every counterattack.  The A’s for their part just kept winning freekicks but lacked the firepower to convert their opportunities.  City finally managed a decent attack in the 64th minute, however, Carnegie turning provider for Bridgey who should have pulled the trigger earlier but won a corner – the ball eventually being headed wide.  A few minutes later Anthony definitely should have shot after receiving the ball in a great position inside the 18 yard box but opting to lay off to the unprepared Carnegie instead of shooting himself.

This was only an interlude however and Banstead continued to pile on the pressure, winning a series of set pieces in dangerous positions.  A freekick near the byline in the 73rd minute resulted in the ball being headed wide and a few minutes the later they went closer still – the ball being frantically cleared off the line from a corner and then blazed over the bar from the edge of the area.  Things seemed to have taken a turn for the worse in the 77th minute – Elvis, already with a yellow card against his name, appearing to go in two footed on a player.  Perhaps it was the rain which had turned the pitch into a boating lake but whatever his reasoning the ref kept his cards dry and gave Banstead a freekick from which they once again shot over the bar.

Somehow the A’s just could not get that equaliser and slowly but surely their momentum faded, allowing City a way back into the match.  It was Danny Elgar that made the most of it, first hitting a weak shot into Brady’s red mitts (Matt H kept trying to joke that he caught the ball ‘red-handed’ ho ho ho!) and then finally getting the killer goal in the 82nd minute.  It was another Elgar screamer – the City midfielder tearing down the left wing as usual, cutting inside and then with nothing else on, hitting a wonderful curling shot with his right foot, over the defender, over the keeper and into the back of the net.  There was no way back for the luckless Banstead now and the match fizzled out – Simon Cooper and substitute Banton-Brown having half chances which they could not convert before full time was sounded.

BANSTEAD ATHLETIC: P. Brady; A. Myers; D. Hawkins; D. Lawrence; T. Hughes; K. Ogunkoya; A. John; G. Quinton (C. Barnes, 59); Z. Graham (P. Guy, 53); R. White; S. Sinclair

Subs not used: L. Wallace; C. Davidson; D. Cuppit
Booked: D. Lawrence; C. Barnes

GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; T. Penson; C. Knight; S. Cooper; J. Thoroughgood; E. Defreitas; J. McLeod; J. Brown; A. Bridgeman (L. Banton-Brown, 76); H. Carnegie (A. Greenland, 88); D. Elgar

Subs not used: L. Bradnick; T. Arnold; G. Adesina
Booked: E. Defreitas

Referee: J. Paterson
Attendance: 63