Banstead Athletic (1) 1, Guildford City (0) 2
by Barry Underwood
It appeared for some time during this match, and not for the first time, that Guildford again were playing the better football, but were destined to come away at the end with no points on the board. But on this occasion, all came together late in the game, and two coolly taken spot-kicks from Andre Smith saw City deservedly take the points. The game almost stated in a bizarre fashion. The referee blew at 7.45pm for the captains but strangely there was only the visiting side on the pitch. A minute or two later Banstead strolled out of the dressing room and the game belatedly started. It was actually a scrappy start, but it was City who made the most of their possession. The first opening fell from an Andre Smith long throw which led to Nathaniel Williams shooting just wide. Another early opening saw a cannonball of an effort from Josh Everard bravely blocked by a defender’s head. Banstead always posed a threat on the counterattack and on 25 minutes it took a great cover tackle by Luke Beale to prevent a clear shot on goal. On the half-hour Nathaniel Williams came close once again. Andre Smith harried a defender into an error which led to Williams low shot hitting the outside of the post. A minute later Athan Smith-Joseph broke free down the right and cutting-in his powerful effort was saved by David Trevino. After 38 minutes a Theo Woodhouse half-volley was blocked. The ball was cleared immediately upfield and finding themselves stretched the City defence conceded a foul on the edge of the box. Up stepped Alex Felipey whose free kick hit the post. Banstead were alert to the rebound and the loose ball was netted to give the home side the lead.
Encouraged by their late first half goal Banstead enjoyed a good spell for the first 20 minutes of the second period. A minute after the restart Devon Gordon had to save low down at the foot of his right-hand post. Guildford were struggling to keep possession during this period and on 55 minutes Banstead shot wide from 20 yards. On the hour confusion in the City defence led to the home side attempting a long-range lobbed shot which missed the target. The game became transformed just minutes later. Cyril Ocansey and Mike Coppinger were introduced off the bench and boldly City moved to play three at the back. Immediately Theo Woodhouse saw a long shot saved at full stretch, and Andre Smith lifted the ball over the goalkeeper from an angle which went wide. City should have equalised with 15 minutes remaining. A delicate pass from Smith put Ocansey in a great position but the close-range effort was blazed over the bar. But minutes later City were awarded a penalty. Jamie Higgins was fouled as he challenged in the air and Andre Smith drove the spot-kick home. From now until the end Guildford were rampant. Smith pulled the ball back to Jamie Higgins, but he mistimed his effort completely. Cyril Ocansey burst in from the left, but Trevino saved well at the near post. In a bizarre moment Kieran Williams’s deflected cross appeared to be dropping over Trevino’s head and into the net. Trevino did enough to push it up, and amazingly from a prone position was able to kick the ball away. City thought they should have had a second penalty on 89 minutes as David Burton went down whilst attacking Kieran Williams cross. Then with virtually the last kick of the game Guildford did win a second penalty. Andre Smith was brought down in the box and after dusting himself off he converted again for what proved to be the match defining moment.
Team: Devon Gordon, Jimmy Odagi (Cyril Ocansey 66), Isy Nzelo, Theo Woodhouse, Luke Beale, David Burton, Athan Smith-Joseph (Kieran Williams 84), Jamie Higgins, Andre Smith, Josh Everard (Mike Coppinger 62), Nathaniel Williams. Unused subs: Craig Lewington, Roberto Dos Santos Saraiva.
Referee: Alex McKay
City’s next home game is on Saturday 26th of September versus Spelthorne Sports. Tickets available: https://thelittleboxoffice.com/guildfordcityfc