Chessington & Hook 0 – 1 Guildford City

Guildford produced another fine display to defeat a dogged Chessington and Hook and side and reap revenge for their 4-3 defeat a few weeks ago. However they will have come away from this feeling they should have scored more as Tony Chaplin’s wonder strike proved the only goal of the game. With Chertsey beating Ash these were another crucial three points in City’s bid to win the league.

After the excitement of the home encounter, we were half expecting another high scoring game with some defensive catastrophes thrown in for good measure. This was a totally different type of game however and City dominated from start to finish despite the freezing conditions and heavy pitch which meant the visitors were hitting corners and freekicks along the ground for much of the game. After a good start in which Guildford’s pace and smooth one-touch passing caused immediate problems for the home side, Jaydon Gibbs forged the first chance of the game – firing a perfect drive which would have hit the top corner had the Chessington keeper not tipped the ball over the bar. More possession followed with Will Heavey twice being guilty of some sloppy finishing as he sliced a shot wide of the post from the edge of the area and then ballooned a shot over the bar from a similar distance. Chessington occasionally threatened on the counter-attack but Hall had a quiet first half in the semi-darkness at the bottom of the pitch.

Finally City got the breakthrough – the ball being cleared out of the Chessington penalty area and falling to Tony Chaplin some 25 yards out. The City midfielder who had scored only one other goal before this match chested the ball before hitting a perfect first time low volley so hard the keeper barely saw it before it hit the back of the net. We expected the floodgates to open now and they should have done – a wonderful cross found the head of Lance Banton-Brown but he inexplicably headed the ball away rather than into the gapping net in front of him!!

The second half was a cagey and largely frustrating affair in which City really should have wrapped the game up. They were helped enormously in this by the sending off of a Chessington player after he brought down Lance on the edge of the box on around the hour mark. This prompted a minor skirmish but luckily the referee was sensible and no more cards were issued to either side. Joel Greaves came on for Lance with around 20 minutes to go but even with Guildford’s top scorer on the pitch opportunities were at a premium. The home side started to come back into the game with around 10 minutes to go but they were unable to trouble Hall and City ran out worthy, if unconvincing victors.