Egham Town 3 – 2 Guildford City

In stark contrast to the Chessington match in midweek, this was a good match. City went 2-0 down early on, but staged a second half fight back to level the score. However, another late winner (albeit not as late as we’re used to!) for Egham Town spoiled the day.

Andy Harrison-King (can you get a more Guildford City related surname than that?), Stu and myself drove up from Guildford, meeting Terry and Tony in the Egham clubhouse. We were then joined by Andy Backhurst who had driven Chris, Chris and Sam to the match. So a decent sized ‘Sweeney’ for a decent away match at a decent ground!

The match kicked off, and City were all at sea as Egham attacked early on. In the fourth minute, Egham were ahead. A freekick taken by Ryan Lake from outside the area curled straight past Anthony Hall into the Guildford net. And things got worse five minutes later when some good work down the left side culminated in a low cross which was poked home by Jake Rowley. Guildford were 2-0 down within ten minutes after a horror start.

Egham stopped pressing so hard and Guildford found their feet again. Halfway through the first half, Egham forward Charlie McCarthy was lucky to escape with a yellow card after a late, studs-up challenge on a City player. In the 25th minute, Jamie King came close with a looping header from a free kick, one of few chances for City in the first half.

The referee then went on a rampage, booking four players in ten minutes for pedantic reasons while a bad challenge by Karle Andrews on Anthony Bridgeman went unpunished.

A Ben Rayner freekick offered City another chance as the ball again found the head of Jamie King, but the keeper tipped it out for a corner. Egham immediately went down the end, ex-City striker Matt Graves pulling his shot just wide of the left hand post. City pumped the ball up front again, Sean Rivers out-battling his marker before finding Lance Banton-Brown. Unfortunately they weren’t quite on the same wavelength as Lance tried a cheeky back flick, but Rivers hadn’t continued his run and the ball was swept up by the Egham defence.

Another good cross almost found Anthony Bridgeman but he couldn’t quite reach the ball, and Egham broke towards the City goal. A sweeping pass was cleared up by Anthony Hall – but the momentum of his run pushed him out of the area, and he couldn’t get his arms out of the way quickly enough as he knocked into an Egham forward. He thus appeared to half-catch/half-drop the ball, all at the same time, and a freekick was given for handling outside of the area. It came to nothing and the half ended at 2-0 to Egham after a half in which City just weren’t at the races and had paid the price for a disastrous first ten minutes.

We made our way over to get some half time food, with the Egham snack bar struggling with the sudden rush of orders for chips from the Sweeney. Chris L and myself were the unfortunate ones, and we had to wait until the 12th minute of the second half before they arrived! Andy Harrison-King was enjoying his cheeseburger, describing it as “cheesy, warm and tasty”, clearly what you want you want from a cheeseburger!

The start of the second half started and was fairly end-to-end, but Brian was moaning that we were “playing like bananas”. Not because we were wearing yellow, but apparently due to us ‘bunching’ up – at which point he gave us a demonstration of what the word ‘bunch’ meant, to clarify his point.

In the 56th minute, Anthony Hall made a good save – tipping the ball upwards from a shot. As far as I was concerned, the ball was going out for a corner so I started to write on my sheet – but the next thing I know everyone went “ooooh” and Hall had the ball in his hands. Quite what happened I’m not sure, but I think the original tip over nearly fell to an Egham striker (rather than go out for a corner), but Hall had caught the ball.

Danny Elgar then replaced Jack Turner, with Jamie Thoroughgood having already come on for John Campbell. These two substitutions rejuvenated Guildford, giving more creativity in midfield and meant City could attack to get themselves back into the match.

But not before Andy Harrison-King and Stu gave their critique of the chips that had just arrived. They were “good”, especially as you can’t get them at many grounds. And according to Andy, they had “just the right amount of oil”. Stu then finished matters with a simple “nice”. Glad that’s sorted then…

All of City’s attacks were coming through Elgar – with him often having to play closer to the middle of the pitch, leaving a gap on the left wing. Anthony Bridgeman looked a different player in the second half, and he had another good chance from a corner; his header just going over the bar. Soon afterwards, in the 67th minute, City finally scored. An Egham player attempted to clear the ball from the area, but kicked it upwards into his arm. Definitely a penalty, but the offence certainly did not warrant the yellow card he received. Sean Rivers stepped up and scored his 5th penalty in 7 matches.

And then three minutes later City were level. The credit has to go to Danny Elgar – who chased a lost cause and stole the ball off an Egham defender as it was being shepherded out for a goal kick. He had a few options available and he opted to pass to Lance rather than shoot. Lance took a few touches to bring the ball onto his right foot, and his shot hit the keeper’s chest before bouncing into the net. It wasn’t a classic goal, but it meant we were level!

For a while, Egham were doing a City from the first ten minutes, and Guildford could have scored more – Anthony Bridgeman having a decent shot that the keeper managed to keep out.

Andy Harrison-King found time to make an appalling ketchup-related joke, before Harrison-Carnegie replaced Bridgeman.

Banton-Brown then found some space up front after some good work pressurising the defence, but wasted his chance with Danny Elgar waiting for him to return the earlier favour.

After this Egham found their feet again, and in the 84th minute they got their reward. Breaking down the left wing, the ball was passed to an unmarked player at the far post (amid cries of ‘offside’ – even the Egham supporters were unsure…) and sure enough Jesse Aliase put the ball into an almost open goal. Guildford pressed again the last few minutes, new signing Simon Cooper letting fly from long range – but his shot drifted just wide of the goal.

The last chance was a freekick for City; it was a decent cross in, but the keeper caught the ball comfortably despite the pressure of three Guildford players surrounding him.

A good match with lots of goals, incident and food-related banter. Unfortunately another late goal let us down again, but if the second half performance is anything to go by – we should be OK

EGHAM TOWN: T. Oval; A. Oaks; J. Galbraith; R. Lake; S. Derry; L. Muldowney; J. Rowley; K. Andrews (Atasie, 82); M. Graves (C. Muldowney, 63); C. McCarthy; A. Foulser

Subs not used: P. Bartholomew
Booked: R. Lake; S. Derry; J. Rowley; C. McCarthy

GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; J. Turner (D. Elgar, 59); C. Knight; J. Campbell (J. Thoroughgood, 53); S. Cooper; J. King; A. Bridgeman (H. Carnegie, 77); B. Rayner; S. Rivers; L. Banton-Brown; T. Arnold

Subs not used: L. Bradnick; G. Adesina
Booked: A. Hall; S. Rivers; L. Banton-Brown; D. Elgar

Referee: D. Solimirin
Attendance: 74