Chertsey Town (1) 2, Guildford City (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
This has been one of the hardest weeks in Guildford City’s history. To unite together as a club – officials, players and supporters – and to put in a brilliant performance to outplay the league leaders on their own turf was special indeed. Every single player stood up to be counted, and such was City’s dominance that Chris Balchin and his management team were disappointed not to have claimed a thrilling victory. The home side will have been pleased to have taken a point and magnanimously after the game Chertsey officials proclaimed City to be the best side they have faced this season. The early stages of the match were give and take but it was clear from the off that the fine playing surface would suit Guildford’s fluent passing game. The ball was spun wide to both flanks where Eli Ogunseye and Nathaniel Williams enjoyed success all afternoon. It took a brilliant save from Chertsey’s Nick Jupp to prevent City going ahead on seven minutes. Following a free-kick David Burton spun the ball back into the box where Nemo Adam’s header forced Jupp to save well low down. Three minutes later Guildford won a penalty when a ball bounced higher than expected in the box and hit a defenders arm. The referee was well placed and pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Benga Ogunseye who drilled low into the corner. Chertsey liked to get the ball forward to their front men and on 16 minutes they drew level. A shot from outside the box was parried by debutant Oneal Garnes and ex-Bulgaria U’23 star Lubomir Guentchev reacted quickest to net the rebound. Conceding an equaliser didn’t deter the visitors and Eli Ogunseye was rampant down the right. From one cross his younger brother Benga shot narrowly wide of the far post. A minute later City had another great chance to score again when Jupp handled a defensive back-pass just 15 yards out from goal. From the indirect free-kick Benga Ogunseye’s shot to the corner was well blocked. As the interval approached Chertsey headed wide from a good position. Meanwhile at the other end a nicely dinked pass from David Burton gave Eli Ogunseye the chance to fire in a shot that went just wide.
It was more of the same after the half-time break, and City could have put the game to bed at that point. After fine build-up Eli Ogunseye crossed low to Benga Ogunseye who powerful first time effort went straight to Jupp. A minute later the same player combined again and this time Benga’s effort was deflected over the bar for a corner. Chertsey’s build up play was often contained by City’s hardworking midfield, although they did come close on 54 minutes when from a deep free-kick the ball was headed back across the box but nobody was available to get the vital touch. On the hour Benga Ogunseye saw an acrobatic volley clear the crossbar, whilst in return after fine interplay Chertsey saw a left foot effort go wide. It was still end to end action when on 71 minutes Eli Ogunseye went down in the box, but this time there was no penalty decision. Moments later Sean Mason made a fine last ditch block after a rare misjudgement in the City defence. City still pressed forward and after 76 minutes they scored what thus far must be their goal of the season. Benga Ogunseye held the ball up well before passing wide to Nathaniel Williams whose superb cross to the near post was headed home by Eli Ogunseye. Given the intensity of the match it would have easy for the home side to fall away, but Chertsey showed their top of the table mettle by battling to the last, and on 83 minutes Lubomir Guentchev had space on the right and he calmly lobbed the ball home over the advancing Garnes. There was a flurry of activity in both goalmouths as the game came to a close, but when the whistle finally blew it was City players and supporters who celebrated. This had been a fine display of passing football and a fine end to a miserable week.
Team: Oneal Garnes, Sean Mason, Isy Nzelo, David Burton, Luke Beale, Nemo Adams, Elijah Ogunseye, Bobby Webbe, Benga Ogunseye, Evan Lopes (Alex Cooper 82), Nathaniel Williams.
Referee: Robert Whitaker
Attendance – 94