Chertsey Town (2) 3, Guildford City (1) 1
By Barry Underwood
Despite a battling performance City came away from the basement battle at Alwyns Lane with nothing to show for their efforts. After overnight rain referee James Hurst had pontificated on the fitness of the pitch but his decision to play was fully vindicated by an entertaining affair with both sides looking to pass the ball in the heavy conditions. In front of a large Sweeney following it was Guildford who opened the brightest with James Ryan and Josh Hall in midfield directing affairs. It was Hall who had the first shot of the game after two minutes but his low effort from the edge of the area narrowly went wide with home keeper Luke Daley struggling to cover. City attempted to make inroads down the flanks but wide men Nathaniel Williams and Tane Caubo were well marshalled. Consequently City made progress through the middle with James Ryan’s ingenuity several times finding space for the lively Anthony Baker. For their part Chertsey were not afraid to shoot from distance and on 13 minutes Liam Beach reacted superbly to deny Andy Crossley whose 25 yard effort was heading for the top corner. Guildford responded in fine fashion. Bruce McPhail’s excellent ball was taken on the chest by Anthony Baker who took the ball to the by-line where his attempt to force the ball in at the near post was thwarted by Davey. Not to be denied it was City who opened the scoring. James Ryan fed Tane Caubo and his low cross from the left was turned past Davey by the unfortunate Danny Alderson for an own goal. Following Guildford’s goal Chertsey visibly lifted their game and began to win the midfield battle. Three times within minutes 17 year old Liam Beach was called into spectacular action, and it was no surprise when the home side equalised after 36 minutes. Joe Jones had too much time and space on the edge of the box and he rifled home into the corner. Sadly for City they were to concede again on the stroke of half-time. Bruce McPhail, who otherwise impressed in the centre of defence, was mortified to miss a routine clearance that fell to Michael Solako who had the time and space to pick his spot, thereby giving the home side an interval lead.
Once again City opened the second period in a confident mood. Although enjoying more possession Guildford were struggling to fully open up the home defence. The hardworking Anthony Baker several times closed down the home keeper and on 59 minutes he toed the ball away from Davey but couldn’t quite get his shot away from an acute angle. Just a minute later and as if to show how to finish, Chertsey edged further ahead with a quite spectacular long range effort from Joe Jones. City were desperately unlucky not to get on the score sheet on 63 minutes. Once again Baker chased a lost cause to block the goalkeeper’s clearance but James Ryan wasn’t able to steer the loose ball home. Ten minutes later City had another golden opportunity to get on the score sheet. During a sustained period of play Luke Robertson latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the box but his goal bound effort was somehow headed off the line by John Pomroy. The late addition of Navid Zandi from the bench sparked City in the final minutes but this was not to be Guildford’s day.
Team: Liam Beach, Luke Robertson, Harry Eke, Jordan Phillips, Bruce McPhail, Jack Collins, Nathaniel Williams (Ethan Chislett 58), Josh Hall, Anthony Baker (Dan Kelly 73), James Ryan (Navid Zandi 73), Tane Caubo. Unused subs: Dudley Pearn, Lee Allen (GK).
Referee: James Hurst
Attendance – 165