Guildford City (1) 1, AFC Hayes (0) 0
by Barry Underwood
Paul Barnes’ Guildford City side gained their first home victory since September in a tough League Cup encounter against AFC Hayes. In a scrappy match it was a win earned by sheer hard work, and the young City side, with five teenagers in the starting line-up, will have learnt much by the experience. Guildford made a positive start against their Division One opponents, and the skipper Jamie Higgins got the first shot away on goal on three minutes. Initially the Guildford backline did look a bit wobbly, and a free kick from the visitors zipped over the bar, whilst an under hit back pass gave Hayes an excellent opening which they put past the post. On 12 minutes a Max Oldham cross gave Jamie Higgins a great shooting chance which he didn’t hit cleanly and Tom Clark made a comfortable save. Several more times Hayes had shooting chances after defensive uncertainty, but things changed after City took the lead on 28 minutes. Cyril Ocansey’s pace took him past the full-back and cutting in his shot from an angle was parried by Clark. Following up Cyril was on hand to tuck home the rebound for what proved to be the decisive goal. Now showing more confidence City passed the ball to better effect. They came close again when a ball deflected to the corner of the box where Ocansey swivelled impressively to hit a powerful shot on the turn. This time Clark had the measure of the striker and the shot was saved. Minutes before the interval Hayes again had a goalscoring chance, but on this occasion Fred Hill got across to make an excellent block.
After the break Guildford had a golden chance to increase their lead. Max Oldham was up ended as he advanced into the box and Josh Everard stepped up to take the kick. Sadly, it wasn’t an attempt Josh will remember with pride and Clark saved the spot-kick comfortably. On the hour and from Guildford’s best move 16-year-old Nathan Laleye fed 17-year-old Ruairi Byrne, who in turn gave Cyril Ocansey a shooting chance. As the game progressed Hayes began to push City back, and Mike McEntegart was forced into a brilliant save to stop the ball going in the top corner. With 20 minutes remaining Anselme Daho naively kicked the ball away to earn a second yellow card and City were down to 10 for what was sure to be a tense conclusion. Two more teenagers entered the fray from the bench to provide fresh legs for the final stages, but barring one McEntegart save, the teams combined efforts saw them through to the next round.
Team: Mike McEntegart, Anselme Daho, Fred Hill, Josh Everard (Prince Mbengui 56), David Burton, Jamie Higgins (Harry Nicholas 72), Harvey Kirk, Max Oldham, Cyril Ocansey, Nathan Laleye (Liam Maher 76), Ruairi Byrne. Unused subs: Luke Simmonds, Patrick Allen.
Referee: Kierran Corrigan
MATCHDAY PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL BURGMAN