Hanworth Villa (1) 2, Guildford City (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
Guildford’s hearts were broken at Rectory Meadow last evening when a goal from the penalty spot just two minutes from the end spoiled what had been a fine rear-guard action. Given their attacking play in the second half it is hard to argue that Hanworth didn’t deserve the win because in all honesty they did. But this was an improved performance from City, and for their guts and determination in the second half it was hugely disappointing not to take a point from the game. The pitch had passed two inspections in the hour leading up to kick-off, but although the surface was saturated it was definitely playable. With Bobby Dormer and Theo Woodhouse back in the middle of the park Guildford’s line-up had a stronger look. With striker Benga Ogunseye moving on to Haywards Heath FC, manager Chris Balchin reintroduced Mark Watkins to the team.
Guildford opened brightly and in the opening minute Bobby Dormer surged forward to drive a shot wide. Minutes later Cyril Ocansey went down as he chased into the box only to receive a caution for simulation. The in-form home side were soon in the game and from an error in defence Devon Gordon was forced into an excellent early save. After 10 minutes City went ahead and there was an air of fortune about the goal. Kieran Williams and Mark Watkins combined for Watkins to get a shot away on the edge of the box. The shot however took a big deflection and keeper Terry Buss could only watch the ball roll into the net. Hanworth responded strongly and several attempts went narrowly wide. It was therefore no real surprise when the home side equalised. A fine passing move saw the ball turned in from close range. It was entertaining stuff as Alfie Huckle found space to fire an effort just wide. On the stroke of half-time City came close to nudging ahead. Alfie Huckle’s cross field pass found Mark Watkins out wide. Watkins did well to pull the ball back to Kieran Williams whose first-time effort was brilliantly saved by Buss.
City opened brightly after the break. Cyril Ocansey cut in from the right and his powerful effort was comfortably saved. Minutes later Theo Woodhouse flicked on a corner but despite a pile of bodies nobody could force the ball home. Woodhouse saw a shot not held by Buss but the race to the loose ball was won by the Hanworth defence. Hanworth started to dominate as the game entered its fourth quarter. A player at the back post took too long to shoot and the ball found the side netting. Devon Gordon twice saved excellently. As City tired, they sat deeper and Hanworth’s speedy wide players were proving a real handful. Remarkably Nemo Adams cleared off the line three times in the late stages in a real backs to the wall effort. Then with two minutes remaining a player went down in the box and a penalty was awarded. The spot kick was converted, and City were beaten at the death.
Team: Devon Gordon, Isy Nzelo, Josh Burrowes, Bobby Dormer, Nemo Adams, Sean Mason, Kieran Williams (Olalekan Osideko 85), Theo Woodhouse (Luke Beale 88), Mark Watkins, Alfie Huckle (Wayne Ridgley 77), Cyril Ocansey. Unused subs: Zack Basey.
Referee: Steven Scott