Hanworth Villa 2 – 1 Guildford City

Guildford City suffered their third league defeat of the season after a lacklustre display against a good Hanworth Villa side. In a game that was rarely elegant, City had the better of the few first half chances but found themselves 2-0 down when Shennan and King netted in the second period. The visitors piled forward and forced a goal from a free kick, but couldn’t find another to salvage a point.

A tricky trip was always in store for the title chasers, with Hanworth on an excellent run of form, without defeat in ten matches. Indeed, Hanworth’s home ground, known as ‘the Ranch’, is somewhat of a fortress – Villa hadn’t been beaten there since the middle of December.

The visitors had the best chances of a fairly dour opening period in what was a feisty game played at a good tempo. City’s approach play, especially down the wings, looked promising but they were unable to find a killer ball. Dan Moody and Joel Greaves both had good chances but could not test goalkeeper Terry Buss. At the other end, the visitor’s offside trap was being put to the test and generally coming off well – although debutant goalkeeper Joe Gant had to be alert to mop up after some quick counter attacking from the hosts.

As in previous weeks, Guildford City came out strongly at the start of the second half. The City’s best chance came when Jack Guilford directed a powerful header at goal, but Buss produced an excellent save to push the ball away. The home side saw a free kick crash against the woodwork, and a superb headed chance was squandered. In the 66th minute, the Villains broke quickly form a Guildford attack, bringing the ball down the left wing before crossing for Lawrie Shennan to break the deadlock.

It got worse for City just eight minutes later, when Levi King doubled the lead from another good move down the left wing. The visitors heads may have dropped here, but they pushed forward and had half chances through the Joels, Greaves and Hughes, before winning a free kick on the edge of the Villa penalty area. Terry Buss, who had been assured throughout the game, fumbled the cross under pressure from Lance Banton-Brown and Jack Guilford, before Jamie Thoroughgood squeezed the ball home to give City a chance of a comeback. Hanworth were able to see out the remaining minutes with little trouble and therefore inflict only the third league defeat of the season on City. The visitor’s mood was lightened by the news that title rivals Chertsey had failed to beat Raynes Park Vale, meaning the race for the championship was still firmly in Guildford’s hands.

Joe Gant, Tom Penson, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper, Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody (Joel Hughes 81), Jack Guilford, Joel Greaves, Ben Camara (Lance Banton-Brown 64), Jaydon Gibbs.
Unused substitutes: Austin Gacheru, Luke Bradnick, Danny Clayton
Cautioned: Tom Penson, Joel Greaves, Jaydon Gibbs, Joel Hughes