Guildford City 0, Hanworth Villa 0
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City extended their unbeaten run to four matches at the Spectrum on Saturday by playing out a battling goalless draw against sixth placed Hanworth Villa. Normally a lack of goals isn’t a feature of Guildford City matches. This actually was City’s first 0-0 draw since the opening day of the season at Chertsey, and the first at the Spectrum in 40 matches, since Shortwood United visited for a Southern League fixture on 15 March 2014. Largely this was a scrappy encounter with football on both sides made difficult by the uneven surface. It was the visitors who actually carved out the first opportunity when Luke Muldowney headed over from a corner after just two minutes. Hanworth largely had the better of the early possession but chances at either end were at a premium. On the half hour both sides had chances within seconds of each other. First after a period of pin-ball in the Villa box Sanchez Benali saw a low shot saved. Immediately the ball was transferred to the other end and when Martin Dynan stumbled, Ross Cheetham had a clear sight of goal but his early effort blazed over the crossbar. Later City’s Luke Badiali spread himself well to thwart Jesse Ataise on 36 minutes, whilst for City Darren Caesar’s free-kick moments before the half-time break was comfortably saved by a diving Terry Buss.
The second period was similarly scrappy but neither side lacked for commitment. Again clear chances on goal were rare although on 57 minutes Lawrie Shennan was foiled by a fine Luke Badiali save following one of a number of huge clearances by Villa goalkeeper Terry Buss. For City Adam Nditi’s dissecting through ball found Connor French but as he cut inside a last ditch challenge prevented him from getting a shot away. As has happened in recent matches Villa became more influential late in the game and for periods City’s defence were under significant pressure. A fine Harry Driver covering tackle cleared one dangerous moment, whilst new signing Darryl Siaw and Martin Dynan defended impressively. Guildford did counter though and on 81 minutes Oliver Reynolds got forward and his low drive brought out a full stretch diving save from Buss. Adam Nditi was actually on hand to net the resulting loose ball although sadly for the home side he was judged to have been narrowly in an offside position. Villa’s Steve Loveridge had a good chance to claim a late winner following some confusion in City’s defence but his effort sailed over the crossbar. Three times as the game drifted into stoppage time City came close to snatching a winner. Firstly Connor French barged his way into the box only to see his low effort deflected inches wide of the post. A minute later debutant Luke Reynolds saw a similar effort deflected just wide, and from the resulting corner the diminutive Harry Driver got his head to the ball only to see his effort slip inches wide of the post. No doubt a draw was a fair result but there is no doubting the effort displayed by an improving City side who will be content with a point and a clean sheet.
Team: Luke Badiali, Oliver Reynolds, James Davies, Martin Dynan, Darryl Siaw, Harry Driver, Sanchez Benali, Jack Battie, Connor French, Darren Caesar, Adam Nditi. Unused subs: Chad Goulter, Josh Everard, Callum Sexton.
Referee: Stanimir Stoyanov
Attendance – 57