Knaphill (2) 5, Guildford City (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
It was Knaphill who comfortably came out on top during this free scoring derby clash at Redding Way. The home side took an early lead when an ambitious cross field pass was intercepted, and Aziz raced away to shoot past Stuart Norman. Life was not made easier for Guildford when central defender Greg Haydon limped off injured with just 14 minutes on the clock. David Burton came close to his first goal for the club when he shot inches wide after a free kick. Guildford did equalise on 19 minutes and what a crackerjack of a goal it was. Theo Woodhouse released Anis Nuur on the right, and his early square ball gave Dan Stewart the chance to smash the ball home from the edge of the box. For a spell Guildford raised their game and the result of the match was open to question. On 37 minutes Knaphill scored the goal that set them on the road to victory. There were two chances to clear a cross field ball that were missed, and Zac Horkan had the chance to slot home. Then right on the stroke of half-time Knaphill should have taken a two-goal lead but the clear chance inexplicably was missed.
When the teams reassembled for the second period it was apparent that Athan Smith-Joseph had also succumbed to injury. Excitingly for the future it was 17-year-old youth team captain Harvey Kirk who replaced him for his first team debut. Within minutes of the restart Knaphill did have their two-goal lead. City’s defence became stretched and Lalustani had chance to drill a low shot inside the far post. On the hour Theo Woodhouse was shown red for a reckless challenge on half-way. Frustration played its part but now City faced 30 minutes with just 10 players. By now the home side were dominating the game, and on 65 minutes the City defence failed to clear their lines and a powerful effort beat Stuart Norman to make it 4-1. Minutes later another Knaphill effort hit the foot of the post and from the rebound Norman made an excellent save. With 15 minutes remaining Knaphill scored their fifth when challenges were shrugged off and the ball side-footed home. On 80 minutes Guildford made the score line marginally more respectable when Andre Smith was brought down in the box, and the same player stepped up to convert the spot kick with aplomb. Another disappointing league performance from City who now turn their attention to County Cup and FA Vase duties.
Team: Stuart Norman, Athan Smith-Joseph (Harvey Kirk 46), Jeff Twumasi, Theo Woodhouse, Greg Haydon (Luke Beale 14), Nemo Adams, Anis Nuur, David Burton, Dan Stewart, Mike Coppinger (Andre Smith 72), Eli Ogunseye. Unused subs: Kieran Williams, Josh Everard. Referee: Fernando Costacho