Guildford City (2) 3, Canterbury City (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
Guildford eventually came out on top in an FA Cup thriller at the Spectrum on Wednesday evening. In a match played in front of a Covid capacity crowd of 150, the visitors were fast out of the blocks and forced several early corners. Twice frustratingly for the visitors they hit the woodwork in those fruitful first 15 minutes. Perhaps this was a wake-up call which sparked City into action. Slowly Guildford’s speedy wing men Cyril Ocansey and Athan Smith-Joseph made inroads down the flanks. From one such move Ocansey cut in from the left forcing the Canterbury keeper Charlie Wealands to smother the ball at the striker’s feet. Minutes later Andre Smith was very narrowly adjudged offside as he burst through a gap in the middle of the defence. On the half hour City opened the scoring. Jamie Higgins pass was sublimely flicked by Andre Smith into Cyril Ocansey’s path and through on goal he made no mistake from 15 yards. Five minutes later youth team graduate Mike Coppinger slid Athan Smith-Joseph into space and again the low shot beat the keeper. Thoughts of a healthy half-time lead was thwarted in first-half stoppage time when Canterbury scored to bring themselves back into the game. The goal coming from a well-judged lob by Adam Woollcott.
Canterbury City are an accomplished side having been FA Vase semi-finalist’s only two years ago. With that quality a reversal of fortunes was very much on the cards. Guildford should have regained their two-goal lead just after the restart. The impressive Mike Coppinger’s effort was parried by Wealands, and Andre Smith will be fretting on how he managed to lift the rebound over the bar. A short while later Smith squared the ball to an unmarked Cyril Ocansey. But caught off balance his shot was well saved by Wealands. As play went from end to end the result was still very much in question. On 76 minutes Canterbury equalised through their skipper Danny Keyte following a corner, and the prospect of a penalty shoot-out loomed. But Mike Coppinger thought differently. Collecting the ball 30 yards out from goal he drove forward and as he entered the box he looked up and placed a sublime effort beyond the keeper’s despairing dive. There were nerves certainly as the minutes ticked down, and City keeper Zack Basey had to save well with his feet in stoppage time. Guildford had a late chance to wrap things up when Andre Smith stumbled through on goal. With Smith trying to keep his feet three City players vied for whom should shoot. When the shot came Wealands again saved. But seconds later the end came and now City visit Staines Town in the next round on 12 September.
Team: Zack Basey, Jimmy Oragi, Isy Nzelo, Theo Woodhouse, Nemo Adams, Luke Beale, Mike Coppinger, Jamie Higgins, Andre Smith, Cyril Ocansey, Athan Smith-Joseph. Unused subs: Benn Watson, David Burton, Nathaniel Williams, Sean Mason.
Referee: Nic Hucker
Attendance – 150