Guildford City (0) 1, Redhill (2) 3
by Barry Underwood
City bowed out of the Cherry Red Premier Knockout Cup against a Redhill side who advance to a semi-final tie against Abbey or SCR. This looked an under-par performance from Guildford and after a string of late season matches it was perhaps a game too far. But take nothing away from Redhill who were on the day undoubtedly the better side. For all that City did have an early chance when from a corner Mike Coppinger headed just over the bar at the back post. But for a long spell thereafter the home side were unusually vulnerable at the back. A Redhill shot whistled over the bar, and then seconds later on five minutes the visitors took the lead. Two defenders were twisted and turned, and Aiden Brown found space to shoot low into the corner. Redhill were enjoying positive possession and from another error Nathan Hogan blazed over when well placed. Athan Smith-Joseph and Mike Coppinger both had half chances which were comfortably saved, but this did spur City into their best spell of the match. Max Oldham rounded the goalkeeper but was pushed wide and was unable to get a shot away. Then Guildford felt they had strong claims for a penalty when Mike Coppinger was “fouled” whilst attacking a loose ball. In a period of pressure Coppinger’s shot was half blocked, and from a corner Isy Nzelo headed over. Just before the break Guildford had a warning as Mike McEntegart saved well after two defenders were deceived. But the warning wasn’t heeded as on the stroke of half-time Noe Vandrells received the ball in acres of space and had time to pick his spot.
The home side changed their formation for the second half and seven minutes into the half they got back into the game. An in-swinging corner hit the post and bounced out into a crowded box where the referee spotted the ball touch a Redhill hand. Max Oldham stepped up to net from the penalty spot. But Guildford were unable to kick-on. On the hour Aiden Brown had a good opportunity to put Redhill further ahead which he missed, whilst Sam King evaded several challenges to force McEntegart into another excellent save. On 74 minutes the game was effectively killed off when King reacted first to a loose ball to score from the edge of the box. There was a late opportunity for Guildford to make the final moments exciting. A lovely Max Oldham cross into the box was met by Cyril Ocansey whose hook shot was comfortably saved.
And so, the curtain comes down on another season. It was the second Covid affected season, but aside from that the league campaign that concluded in December had once again been hugely disappointing. A change of manager in the new year and with a promise of better times to come it will be very interesting to see how Guildford City fare next time round.
Team: Mike McEntegart, Isy Nzelo, Ryan Ferrari, Josh Everard (Nathan Laleye 67, David Burton Prince Mbengui, Ruairi Byrne, Max Oldham, Athan Smith-Joseph (Harry Nicholas 82), Mike Coppinger, Kieran Williams (Cyril Ocansey 46). Unused subs: Patrick Allan, Stephane Zolo.
Referee: Scott Crowhurst