Guildford City (0) 0, Balham (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
Following an excellent performance in defeat at Walton Casuals during the week, City were confident going into this match as they looked for their first league win of the season. It was never going to be easy as Balham are a much improved side this season and have made a good start to the campaign. In truth there was little between the sides overall with few chances at either end, and had the game finished goalless it wouldn’t have been a surprise. There was little in the early stages, although Balham looked both physically strong and comfortable on the ball. Both sides eventually had a sight of goal on the quarter hour when Wayne Ridgley’s header was tipped over by Haydn Read, followed moments later by a Balham shot at the back post that was blocked. James Adebayo did pose some problems down the left and from one move Zack Basey was forced to save with his legs at the near post. The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot on 28 minutes. Adebayo’s trickery was too much for a City defender who nicked the striker who went down. Up stepped Tom Read to net comfortably from the spot-kick. City came close to equalising just seconds later. A delicate lifted ball from Wayne Ridgley gave Eli Ogunseye a chance but Read was quickly off his line to smother the chance. On 34 minutes Ridgley himself might have shot but he elected to tee up Ryan Dacres-Smith whose shot was charged down. On the stroke of half-time Balham might have scored a second when Adebayo again cut in and Zack Basey was forced to save acrobatically.
The second period continued with few chances at either end. With 20 minutes remaining Benga Ogunseye entered the fray and Dan Stewart dropped to the 10 position. This move gave City a much needed spark. Stewart himself showed nimble footwork to find space in the box. He could have shot himself but his unselfish pull back went straight across the goalmouth without a touch. As the game entered the last 10 minutes Leavan Sullivan’s effort to bundle the ball home was cleared off the line. With five minutes remaining Cyril Ocansey’s shot brushed off a defender and onto the crossbar. Then in the final moments Leavan Sullivan was poised to head home only to see at the last moment another Guildford head take the ball away from him. There was a late shout for a home penalty but in the end it wasn’t to be. The search for the first league win goes on.
Team: Zack Basey, Sean Mason, Isy Nzelo (Dan Harding 83), Theo Woodhouse (Benga Ogunseye 67), Leavan Sullivan, Billy Irving, Eli Ogunseye, Ryan Dacres-Smith, Dan Stewart, Wayne Ridgley (Josh Everard 80), Cyril Ocansey. Unused subs: Alex Cooper, Kiyanu Pillay.
Referee: Joe Wright
Attendance – 86