Guildford City (0) 0, Abbey Rangers (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
In front of a bumper 200+ crowd at the Spectrum it was Abbey Rangers who came out on top in a competitive encounter. Abbey had a slight edge for much of the game but overall, there was little between the sides. And that’s how the game opened. Abbey had the first shot on goal which went narrowly wide, whilst in response first Cyril Ocansey just couldn’t reach an Andre Smith cross, and secondly Athan Smith-Joseph’s dangerous cross was cleared in the box. Abbey then took the lead on 12 minutes. A deep free kick beyond the back post was headed back by Jordan Stepney and Tom Neale was on hand and unmarked to slam the ball home from close range. Guildford responded well and for a 20-minute spell the better chances fell to them. Shortly after the goal Mike Coppinger’s 30-yard effort forced Billy Bishop into a flying save. An astute lifted pass from Athan Smith-Joseph was narrowly too high for Cyril Ocansey when the slightest touch would have taken it into the net. City’s best chance of the game came on 31 minutes when a ball threaded through the middle-found Cyril Ocansey whose effort was well saved by Bishop at close range.
Guildford opened the second half well and several half chances were created. Theo Woodhouse headed wide from a Craig Lewington free-kick, and from an Ocansey flick on Jimmy Oragi blazed over from an angle. As City sustained their attacking intent an excellent Athan-Smith run and cross from the by-line was cleared brilliantly by the Abbey defence under pressure from Ocansey. Andre Smith also had half a sight of goal, but his first-time effort was blocked, and the rebound fired over. Mid-half Abbey exerted some dominance and the impressive Kerry Kedze’s run and shot narrowly wide sparked a change in affairs. The visitors certainly enjoyed more possession and on 70 minutes a direct free kick just cleared the crossbar. The match deciding second goal came on 77 minutes, and what a screamer it was. Josh Ano in the left-back position let fly from fully 35 yards and the ball flew into the top corner. With the effect of injuries biting City hard the stuffing had been knocked from the home side, and Abbey went on in the final moments to comfortably claim their victory.
Team: Zack Basey, Jimmy Oragi, Isy Nzelo, Craig Lewington, Theo Woodhouse, Luke Beale (Josh Everard 75), Mike Coppinger (Nathaniel Williams 68), Jamie Higgins, Andre Smith, Cyril Ocansey, Athan Smith-Joseph (Reis Stanislaus 68). Unused subs: David Burton, Roberto Dos Santos Saraiva.
Referee: Josh Gilham
Attendance – 211