Guildford City (0) 0, Hartley Wintney (0) 1
by Barry Underwood
Not for the first time this season Guildford City were judged the better side on the day, but yet came away from the match with absolutely nothing but pride to show for their considerable efforts. But then Hartley haven’t been crowned League Champions for no reason, and their ability to snatch a late winner and a win when not playing so well is a mark of any good side. To be fair Hartley were missing their deadly duo of strikers Argent (injured) and Cook (suspended), but then City themselves were missing their own in-form midfielders Dan Akinwande and Robbie Mundow who were absent for similar reasons. On a beautiful sunny afternoon the match was played out on a good looking but firm playing surface. The first 30 or so minutes of the match were end of seasonish with little real action at either end, or little cohesion throughout the rest of the park. As the half developed Guildford started to push forward. In particular Darryl Siaw started to look dangerous on the left flank and from his first significant run his cross from the by-line was parried by Jake Maddock and the rebound was cleared. Moments later Siaw gave Miguel Anderson a shooting opportunity but his effort on the turn was comfortably saved. Siaw was rampant at this stage and his pass to Kiye Martin gave ex-Merrow defender Chris Tancock on the overlap a chance to slide the ball across the face of the goal but his effort was over hit and eluded his colleagues in the six yard box. On 32 minutes City came mighty close to open the scoring when Miguel Anderson slid a through ball behind the champions defence and the speedy Marlon Pinder got a toe to the ball but brave goalkeeping by Maddocks was able to block Pinder’s goal bound effort. Evan Lopes, who otherwise had a frustrating afternoon, saw a shot blocked from the edge of the area for a corner, whilst Marlon Pinder looped a header wide from Shawn Lyle’s cross. As the clock ticked round to 45 minutes Hartley had their first real chance on goal; Luke Perkins sending a shot whistling just past. There was still time for one more City attack and again it was Darryl Siaw whose run and cross created the opening but excellent defending prevented Evan Lopes converting.
The home side lined up for the second-half minus skipper Greg Haydon who has been suffering recently with a foot injury. Returnee Jake Downs took his place in the City defence. Guildford opened the half in a similar vein but with the same frustrating end result. First an excellent cross from Siaw crossed through the six yard box at a comfortable height with no one available to put the ball in the net. On 54 minutes a Kiye Martin free-kick into the danger area was glanced wide by Bobby Dormer. On 76 minutes substitute Tom Bingham was narrowly judged to be offside after a fine run and pass from Kiye Martin. Almost inevitably the game’s only goal came to the visitors who scored what proved to be the winner in a rare attack. Hartley for once found space on the right and Kallum Lunn was forced into a flying save. The ball was half cleared to Ian Jones on the edge of the box who was composed enough to pick his spot in the corner beyond Lunn’s despairing dive. Guildford pushed forward in the remaining moments and certainly Hartley found more space and came to life in an attacking sense. City themselves tried their upmost to get something from the game throwing balls into the Hartley box. From one free-kick Maddock’s pulled off an excellent save to prevent the ball entering the net via a defenders head, and despite four late corners and scrambles in and around the penalty area City were unable to claim just reward for their efforts.
Team: Kallum Lunn, Chris Tancock, Tom Booth, Greg Haydon (Jake Downs 46), Bobby Dormer, Shawn Lyle, Evan Lopes (Tom Bingham 60), Miguel Anderson, Marlon Pinder (Matt Brown 67), Kiye Martin, Darryl Siaw. Unused subs: Nhoj Witter, Robbie Mundow.
Referee: Anand Desai
Attendance – 84