Guildford City (0) 0, Rusthall (0) 2
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City crashed out of the FA Vase at Wey Court and they will spend the rest of the weekend wondering how that managed to happen. It was a game of two halves but City’s first-half performance was of the highest standard excepting one thing – the failure to score a goal. The visitors from the start to almost the finish of the half struggled to clear their lines and City piled forward attack after attack. In the first minute, a Kyen Nicholas effort was deflected just past the post for the first of a copious number of corners. Nicholas again had a shooting chance as he drifted across the edge of the box but his effort was mishit. Within seconds though the ball came back to the edge of the box and David Burton twice had efforts charged down. On eight minutes a powerful half volley from Bobby Webbe forced Jack Cornish into the first of a number of flying saves. Cornish made a cracking save on 17 minutes when he reacted brilliantly to stop a deflection from a defender looping into the net for what would have been Rusthall’s third own goal in two matches. It was non-stop pressure and Mark Watkins saw a shot from the edge of the box comfortably saved. Two minutes further on the ball was played to Tariq Straker at the back post but his low drive across goal missed the far post by inches. On 25 minutes Dan Stewart came close when his low effort was again saved brilliantly by Cornish. On the half hour Stewart turned a half chance wide from Mark Watkins cross. On 36 minutes Tariq Straker had another good opportunity at the back post. Kyen Nicholas provided the pass and after taking a touch Straker unfortunately shot into the side netting. There was a sense that City would be made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal and in the dying moments of the half Rusthall had two golden opportunities on goal. First Bobby Webbe did excellently to block a great goal chance at the back post, whilst in the last minute of the half the visitors won a penalty which Robbie Bissett put wide of the goal.
The second period was an altogether different affair. Rusthall came out a different side, enjoying far more of the ball and threatening the home goal. Almost immediately a rare lapse from Liam Beach almost gifted the Kent side a goal but fortunately Beach recovered to snaffle the resulting effort on goal. Rusthall threatened from a number of corners and were dominating the aerial duals. City settled to the extent that they themselves won a series of corners without a serious threat on goal. Kyen Nicholas did turn in the box but his effort was blocked, whilst on the hour Rusthall responded by firing a low ball across the six-yard box ahead of the waiting strikers. The game looked destined for extra-time until the visitors claimed the tie by scoring twice in the final eight minutes. Callum Ridley escaped the attention of the City defenders down the right to fire a low ball across the box where Joe Fuller was on hand to side-foot home. Two minutes later in an almost exact repeat Ridley himself netted from another low cross. City tried in vain to get on the scoresheet in the late stages but as a member of the Sweeney opined “This was typical Guildford – great football, plenty of chances but in the end nothing to show for it.”
Team: Liam Beach, Chris Tancock, Joshua Burrowes (Ric Campbell 84), David Burton, Nemo Adams, Billy Irving, Mark Watkins, Bobby Webbe, Kyen Nicholas, Dan Stewart, Tariq Straker (Isy Nzelo 66). Unused sub: Luke Beale, Gavin Hawkins.
Referee: Luke Pullen