Guildford City (0) 2, Farnham Town (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
This playing of the Hog’s Back Derby was Guildford City’s first foray into the Southern Combination Challenge Cup. After suffering the chastening experience of relegation last season, Farnham Town have opened this campaign in Division One in sparkling form, topping the division with eight wins from 11 matches. From their lively performance in the first half it was easy to see why they are threatening a prompt return to the Premier division. Indeed, much of the game’s early ball possession was with the visitors, with City taking the role of counter attacker on the break. From one such break by Eli Ogunseye City had the first chance on goal, his cross being met first time by Kyen Nicholas whose effort was well saved low down at the near post by the experienced Stuart Norman. Farnham saw an effort from outside the box clear the crossbar, whilst another effort across goal was deflected for a corner. Kyen Nicholas came mighty close to opening the scoring on 20 minutes. Evan Lopes on the left provided the cross from which Nicholas had a good shooting chance from 12 yards. Somehow Norman blocked the shot with his leg from where the ball spun up and hit the crossbar before going wide for a corner! Farnham opened the scoring on the half-hour through their new signing Muctaru Conteh and it came as no real surprise. Conteh cut inside and still finding himself in space he drilled a low shot home from the edge of the box. Throughout the first period Conteh had been given too much space and City’s ultimate success in the match came from more effective closing- down of the talented winger. Shortly before the interval Eli Ogunseye shook off a vigorous challenge to break clear down the right but his low cross/shot eluded everybody in the box.
Manager Chris Balchin had a “quiet” word with the lads in the dressing room at the interval and after the break City’s ball retention was much improved. This in turn gave the home side more attacking presence. From an early corner Kyen Nicholas headed wide from six yards whilst from a free-kick 25 yards out, the wall did its job and the ball was cleared. The equalising goal wasn’t long delayed though. Eli Ogunseye found Kyen Nicholas in space. The powerful Nicholas used his strength to retain possession as he neared the penalty area, where a defender got a foot to the ball which diverted it wide of the advancing Stuart Norman. Kyen Nicholas raced after the ball as it headed slowly for the empty net to ensure that he would be credited with the goal. City constantly looked a threat and they might have scored again from Evan Lope’s free-kick to the near post where neither Nicholas or Kiye Martin could make the most of a half-chance. With 20 minutes remaining an increasingly frustrated Bobby Webbe was replaced by Daniel Morais who subsequently enjoyed a bright cameo appearance off the bench. Eli Ogunseye saw a shot comfortably saved, before on 71 minutes Guildford scored what proved to be the winning goal. From a corner Nemo Adam’s header bounced up and hit the crossbar, and Kyen Nicholas reacted first to acrobatically hook the rebound into the roof of the net. Late in the game Dave Burton set Nicholas up for another shooting chance that Norman parried, and the same player sliced an Ogunseye cross tiredly wide. In stoppage time an excellent long-range attempt from Farnham dipped just over the bar. City now go on to visit Sutton Common in the next round.
Team: Liam Beach, Sean Mason, Isy Nzelo (Josh Burrowes 73), David Burton (Victor Cardenas 82), Nemo Adams, Luke Beale, Evan Lopes, Bobby Webbe (Daniel Morais 67), Kyen Nicholas, Kiye Martin, Eli Ogunseye. Unused sub: Tom Griffin.
Referee: Bogdan Caraghin
Attendance – 62