Guildford City (1) 2, AFC Hayes (0) 0
by Barry Underwood
Two goals from the penalty spot by Shawn Lyle were enough to give City their first league victory in nine attempts. And a fully deserved victory it was. Playing some of their best football in weeks, a confident Guildford side could and should have won by a larger margin. But after slim pickings in recent weeks three points was most important, and on a heavy pitch City duly achieved their target and kept a rare clean sheet to boot. Right from the kick-off it was evident that the City side were “up” for the game. In the early stages wing back Alex Rose was at the heart of the home side’s best chances. After a fine run down the left flank his pass gave Kiye Martin a sight of goal but his snatched shot drifted wide. After a similar run Rose gave Shawn Lyle a shooting opportunity but his effort also missed the target. On the half-hour Rose himself had a sight of goal but his effort sailed over the crossbar. Guildford were dominating play and minutes later a fine Kiye Martin effort from 20 yards rattled the Hayes crossbar. Pessimists amongst the crowd might have wondered whether City would find the net. The answer came almost immediately when Alex Rose was tripped as he ran at pace into the box and referee Mawby correctly pointed to the penalty spot. Shawn Lyle duly stepped up to drill the ball home. It is said you are most vulnerable after you have scored, and Hayes almost made City pay with their first effort on goal. An under pressure Greg Haydon slipped on the greasy surface leaving Sekani McCalmon with a free sight of goal, but debutant keeper Kallum Lunn was equal to the challenge deflecting McCalmon’s effort for a corner. Moments before the break Sam Sillah shot just wide as Hayes finished the half strongly.
City attacked the Burpham end in the second period and within four minutes of the restart the referee was once again pointing at the penalty spot. Shawn Lyle’s kicking foot was impeded during the back-swing but it is fair to say that the penalty decision proved to be controversial. Regardless Lyle dusted himself down to convert his second penalty of the game to give the home side some breathing space. Guildford increasingly played some enterprising football without, on a number of occasions, a cutting edge up top. The City back-line looked secure and Dan Akinwande had a fine game in front of the defence. Alex Rose continually looked dangerous and on 57 minutes City again hit the woodwork through Leon Lalor-Dell after Rose’s work on the left. In Hayes best spell of the half Kallum Lunn saved well to tip over a powerful effort from the edge of the box, followed a minute later by Austin Schofield heading wide from close range. As the game entered its final stages Guildford reasserted their dominance and had numerous opportunities to extend their lead. Visiting keeper Cameron Kennedy denied Shawn Lyle a hat-trick with a one on one save, Tom Booth was caught in two minds whether to shoot or cross, whilst Kiye Martin had two shooting chances; the second of which brought a flying save from Kennedy. A heartening win then for City. Fully deserved with some fine football played, and a timely boost for forthcoming cup quarter-finals.
Team: Kallum Lunn, Leon Lalor-Dell (Tom Booth 65), Alex Rose, Greg Haydon, Darryl Siaw, Nemo Adams, Robbie Mundow (Jamel Johnson 80), Dan Akinwande, Tom Bingham (Alpha Cauwenbergh 70), Shawn Lyle, Kiye Martin. Unused sub: Joshua Kaddu.
Referee: Andy Mawby
Attendance – 54