Guildford City 0 – 2 Chessington & Hook United

GUILDFORD never got going in this match despite some decent chances, particularly in the first half.  As it was they were given a lesson in finishing by an impressive Chessington & Hook side who climbed to second in the league after today’s win.  Two soft, but well finished goals were the difference between the two sides – Darren Smith heading home unmarked from a throw-in and then, after what appeared to be a City comeback of sorts, Scott Todd running unmarked into the area and finishing clinically.

After the excitement of Tuesday night’s game, hopes were high that City could keep scoring – perhaps with a lot fewer going in at our end this time.  Moaning Tone was particularly pleased to be the sponsor of Lance Banton-Brown’s kit – the City striker being left in no doubt that Tony would be displeased if he did not keep scoring!  Meanwhile we welcomed a few new students to the Spectrum who appeared to enjoy themselves despite what they termed the comedy defending.

Chessington started the game well and were soon creating chances – a shot going just wide from close range in the 2nd minute.  It was City though who were looking the most dangerous in the opening exchanges – Sean Rivers going close from a freekick on the edge of the box and Lance firing over the bar under the close attention of a Chessington defender.  In the 16th minute Guildford would have gone ahead had it not been for a superb reflex save from keeper Mark Daniels who pushed a header, heading for the corner, out of harm’s way.  The pressure continued and perhaps the key decision of the match arrived just a minute later.  Lance once again beat the offside trap and appeared to be brought down when his path into the box was clear.  Surely the defender was the last man and should be off?  No the referee bottled it and gave the player a yellow card.  The freekick came to nothing and City were back to square one once again.  They continued to press however and Danny Elgar and Anthony Bridgeman caused real problems with their pace and crossing.  Again the home side were unlucky not to score in the 23rd minute – an Elgar cross missing the head of Rivers and catching the perfectly placed Lance unawares.

The visitors were far from quiet during this period and they nearly scored from a piledriver a few minutes later – the ball flying just over the bar and bouncing off the stanchion of the far post.  They were nearly gifted a goal on the half hour mark when Jamie Thoroughgood uncharacteristically sent a sloppy pass into the path of an onrushing forward.  Hall was on hand to save the day however with two brilliant point blank saves which saw the ball eventually go out for a throw-in.  Guildford stuck to the task in hand and in the 33rd minute another pinpoint Elgar cross found Sean Rivers in the box, he advanced on goal but sent his shot over the bar from 6 yards!!  The flag went up but we didn’t know whether it was for a goalkick or offside – let’s hope the latter!!

Four minutes later the visitors grabbed the lead.  A throw-in was won level with the City penalty area and the ball was flicked to the far post and the lurking Darren Smith, who headed the ball home unmarked.  To their credit the home side were not discouraged by this setback and had two chances to equalise before the halftime whistle.  First the ball was headed wide from an extreme angle after another of Elgar’s crosses and then Elgar himself saw the ball headed off the line following a freekick from the byline.

We were all hopeful at halftime and headed to the clubroom for a drink or two.  A very happy man was the Chessington chairman who had managed to win Golden Goal and the princely sum of £24.50.  Both he and his wife had kept us all enthralled with their tales of watching every match at Wembley during the 66 World Cup.  His wife had not missed a football match on a Saturday for 70 years she reckoned!  Matt Howell, meanwhile, had constructed another “classic” chant for the visiting fans – Alton Towers is better than you!

The second half started and the visitors must have been confident because they tried, Pele style, to score from the halfway line from the kick off – perhaps they thought Hall was off his line?  Anyway the ball bounced harmlessly into the hands of the City keeper and was then launched back up the pitch.  Any hopes we might have entertained of getting something from this game were swiftly dispatched however, when Chessington scored their second goal just 9 minutes in.  It was a great goal from Scott Todd who, despite our chants of “girlie-hair” for his long locks and Alice band, had looked excellent all afternoon.  The striker simply advanced on the Guildford defence who remained rooted to the spot and allowed him to get goalside and finish clinically.  A freekick and a corner followed for the visitors but without success before the home side had a chance of their own – a freekick being pumped in and the ball fired well wide of the post around the hour mark.

The balance of play now switched to the home side as the visitors sat back on their lead and allowed Guildford to come at them.  Lance was working hard upfront, winning a freekick and two corners.  The last of these, in the 69th minute, nearly gave the home side a ray of hope as the ball rebounded to Jack Turner who hit a thunderous shot at the goal which Daniels just kept out with his feet.  Three minutes later came more frustration as a perfectly weighted ball hit the back of Lance’s foot and prevented him going through on goal.  More chances came but none which really troubled Chessington.  Bridgey headed over in the 73rd minute before Lance tried a lob from the edge of the box which just missed.

Time was running out and we could not see our team winning this match despite the possession – it just wasn’t our day.  This was confirmed when Bridgey hit another screamer from 25yards which went inches wide of the post and then, perhaps the best chance of all, Ben Rayner headed the ball towards the top corner only to see Daniels once again acrobatically turn the ball away with his fingertips.  The visitors comfortably ran the time down, and the final action of the match, aside from the inevitable substitutions, was a yellow card for Graham Tydeman for a foul on Todd.

GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; G. Tydeman; T. Tydeman; T. Penson; J. Thoroughgood (J. Turner, 64); J. King; A. Bridgeman; B. Rayner; S. Rivers (G. Adesina, 80); L. Banton-Brown (H. Carnegie, 80); D. Elgar

Subs not used: T. Lineker; L. Bradnick
Booked: G. Tydeman

CHESSINGTON & HOOK: M. Daniels; J. Massing; M. Bhari; A. Heath; L. Canning; M. Jackson; D. Pitcher (M. Graca, 90+4); D. Smith (A. Davidson, 45); R. Jackson (R. North, 90+1); S. Todd; S. Graham

Subs not used: M. Sharp; M. Todd
Booked: M. Daniels; J. Massing; A. Heath; L. Canning; D. Pitcher

Referee: E. Santos
Attendance: 61