Guernsey awaits after Guildford win narrow-Lea
By Tom Wellman
Guildford City booked their tickets to the Channel Island of Guernsey with a 3-2 win over Badshot Lea in the Premier Cup quarter-final on Wednesday night. Goals from Lance Banton-Brown, Jack Guilford and Ryan Wallis ensured that City’s cup run would be extended, but it was far from easy.
Darren Blake put the visitors 1-0 up in the first 10 minutes and Hankin atoned for his earlier error with a late free-kick as Badshot piled forwards in search of a 3rd to take the tie to extra-time.
Manager Kevin Rayner chose to omit some of his star players who are in need of a rest for the run-in so Dan Moody and Joel Hughes began on the bench while Austin Gacheru didn’t feature at all, instead choosing to give some of his fringe players a game.
Earlier in the season, Badshot lost 2-0 at the Spectrum thanks to goals from Simon Cooper and Dan Moody, but this affair panned out a bit differently as City’s opponents looked more than ready for this encounter, taking the game to them at times.
In their first real attack of the game, Badshot took the lead; the ball falling kindly for Blake to half-volley superbly over Michael Hall and into the top corner from the edge of the box. This early setback rocked City but they couldn’t break through a stubborn Badshot Lea defence as Lance Banton-Brown, Jaydon Gibbs and Ben Rayner all had efforts come to nothing.
City were racking up the half-chances but Badshot were quick to counter; the lively Blake forced Hall into a decent tip over the bar.
But Guildford’s pressure finally told when Banton-Brown nodded a Rayner corner into the net in stoppage time of the first half.
A similar pattern followed after the break; Guildford pressed but couldn’t generate many real goal scoring opportunities. Jack Guilford was felled in the box but the referee waved away frenetic appeals from the home team.
Guilford was to make a superior impact on the hour mark though as he beat a couple of players with a surging run before finding the bottom corner with a shot from 18 yards. City had the lead and were fully expected to add to that and make it comfortable like they have done for the majority of the campaign.
Today was different however as Badshot continued to look dangerous; Pearson missed from 3 yards out while Blake fired a shot just wide of the post. Cruelly, Guildford cashed in somewhat fortuitously moments later. Ryan Wallis met substitute Dan Moody’s cross with his head but it then took a huge deflection off a defender, sending the keeper sprawling the other way. 3-1 seemed to be enough but forwards came Badshot once again.
Hankin smashed in a ferocious free-kick which squeezed past Hall on 81 minutes and Badshot were in the ascendency. Another Hankin free-kick went just over while crosses invaded Guildford’s penalty area like the plague. Thankfully though, the game finished 3-2 to Guildford because neither the team nor the fans would have wanted to sit through another 30 minutes in the freezing conditions! Fingers crossed for warmer climes in Guernsey.
Michael Hall, Will Heavey, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper [capt], Moses Spencer, Corey Holder, Martin Debrah (Ben Camara 57), Jack Guilford, Lance Banton-Brown (Dan Moody 62), Luke Bradnick, Jaydon Gibbs (Ryan Wallis 74)
Unused substitutes: Joel Hughes, Tony Chaplin
Referee: P. Johnson