Guildford City (0) 1, Banstead Athletic (0) 1
by Barry Underwood
With strong winds swirling around the Spectrum last evening, there was little chance that this match would be a classic. And so it proved. In a generally dour encounter both sides battled with the weather conditions and there was little cohesive play from either side. The first half was a case in point where each side mustered just one serious attempt on goal. Guildford for their part worked hard enough but too many passes went astray. Some you could blame the conditions for but others you couldn’t. City’s big moment in the first period saw Mark Watkins elude three defenders on his way into the box but his left foot effort from the angle was dragged just wide of the post. For Banstead Martin Smith blazed well over the bar from a good position, after which there was a noticeable improvement in the home side’s play. Guildford enjoyed a territorial advantage without that vital killer pass. Minutes before the interval Daryl Bryan-Samuels, overlapping from full-back, did well to make progress into the box but sadly his cross was over hit and eluded the waiting City bodies in the middle.
The second-half was a brighter affair on the pitch, although weather wise the rain had joined the wind to make conditions thoroughly miserable. Guildford opened brightly and should have opened the scoring on 49 minutes. A fine Chris Tancock overlapping run and cross gave Francois Gabbidon a chance which was blocked. From the rebound Robbie Mundow’s header was cleared off the line and from the third attempt Kiye Martin shot wide. There were hopes this was the start of a good second period for the home side but on 53 minutes City fell behind. It came from a Guildford corner and with the home side over committed Banstead broke away and from Smith’s pass Billy Frost side footed home. Shortly after Luke Badiali saved well from a deflection to keep City in the game, whilst Kiye Martin saw a free-kick in a dangerous position clear the crossbar for Guildford. It started to look as if the home side might not get back on level terms. Then out of the blue a slide rule pass from Kiye Martin picked out Mark Watkins whose first time effort crept low inside the near post for the equaliser. Playing with the wind at their backs it was Banstead who looked the more dangerous in the late stages. Guildford for their part several times lost possession deep in their half causing unnecessary pressure. It should be said clearing the ball any distance wasn’t an easy task in the conditions. One such clearance by Nemo Adams ballooned initially up but then back towards the kicker eventually landing just yards from where it started! Banstead’s pressure earned a succession of late corners and Luke Badiali excelled himself punching clear under pressure on each occasion.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Daryl Bryan-Samuels, Luke Beale, Nemo Adams, David Opuku, Mark Watkins (Michael Coppinger 90), Robbie Mundow, Francois Gabbidon (Jordan Gallagher 63), Kiye Martin (David Burton 84), Nathaniel Williams. Unused sub: Andre Morais.
Referee: Andrew Webster
Attendance – 69