Guildford City 2 – 2 Wembley (Premier Challenge Cup Third Round, Guildford City won 5-4 on penalties AET)

Captain Simon Cooper twice equalised for Guildford City as the progressed to the quarter-final stage of the league cup at the expense of Wembley.  An experimental line-up – a mix of first-team, squad and youth players – acquitted themselves superbly and could easily have put the tie to bed in the first half.  Two late goals, one for either side, sent the tie into extra-time where Wembley stole a lead in the second period.  A goalkeeping blunder allowed City to equalise and they went on to net all five of their penalties, debutant Casey McCabe grabbing the winner after Wembley’s Conor Carroll saw his penalty saved by Michael Hall earlier in the shootout.

Guildford City started brightly and barely allowed their opponents a sniff in the first half.  Jaydon Gibbs, Luke Bradnick and Joel Hughes all had good chances to put City ahead, but the scores remained level at the break.  During the second half, City brought on Casey McCabe, Bruce McPhail and Ryan Wallis – the latter two from the club’s youth side – who made their first appearances for the club.  The home side continued to play some smooth passing football but had fewer chances than in the first half.  However, in the 89th minute Wembley broke quickly and Taiwo Edun was on hand to score.  City had other plans however, and just two minutes later Simon Cooper popped up at the back post to slot home a late equaliser.

With the game in extra-time and both sides visibly tiring, the previously frenetic pace dropped somewhat.  Ryan Wallis had a chance to score on his debut but Wembley goalkeeper Ini Amaegbe just managed to reach Wallis’ lob.  The lively Daryl Atkins outpaced and nipped round City goalkeeper Michael Hall in the 108th minute, seeming to secure progression for Wembley.  Amaegbe had other ideas however, and he fumbled a ‘hopeful’ Cooper cross in to the back of the net with three minutes of extra-time remaining.

Tom Penson, Jaydon Gibbs, Will Heavey, Dan Moody all scored in the penalty shootout while Hall saved from Wembley’s Carroll.  Casey McCabe then stepped up to score the winning spot-kick for City, sending them into the quarter-final of the Premier Challenge Cup.

Guildford City
Michael Hall, Will Heavey, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper [capt], Elvis Defreitas, Tom Penson, Dan Moody, Luke Bradnick (Bruce McPhail 74), Joel Hughes (Casey McCabe 64), Jaydon Gibbs, Martin Debrah (Ryan Wallis 81).
Unused substitutes: Toby Johnson, Antony Hall
Cautioned: Will Heavey, Ben Rayner, Tom Penson

Referee: Peter Meek