Molesey 1 – 2 Guildford City

Two Combined Counties promotion chasers went head to head in an entertaining and competitive match at Walton Lane. The visitors started strongly and should have been well ahead by half time having missed numerous chances, but it was only Simon Cooper’s strike that separated the sides at the break. Molesey were better in the second period and deservedly levelled through Sam Lampard. However, substitute Lance Banton-Brown scored the winner, bundling the ball past the hosts’ makeshift goalkeeper with quarter of an hour remaining.

Guildford City has an early chance to take the lead after Gacheru was tackled clumsily in the penalty area, but Ben Camara’s spot kick was saved by Wester Young in the Molesey goal. A strong display from the City back four limited Molesey to a handful of breaks in the first half, with a number of close offside decisions, including a disallowed goal, frustrating the hosts. Around the half hour mark Wester Young made a poor clearance that landed at the feet of Joel Greaves. The City striker tried a looping shot that Young pushed away frantically – despite being outside of his area. An obvious goal denied, Young accepted the inevitable red card without complaint and, with no substitute goalkeeper, defender Joe Yeates took up the gloves. The reward for City’s dominance was not long in coming, with Austin Gacheru making a powerful run to the touchline before crossing to the near post for Simon Cooper to smash home from close range. Minutes later, Greaves came agonisingly close to doubling the lead with an outstretched boot to a low cross, but the ball just zipped past the far post.

The hosts were understandably more urgent and attacking in the second half. However, minutes into the second half, a fine throughball to Austin Gacheru gave City the chance to extend their lead. One-on-one with Yeates, the striker took one too many touches as a covering defender caught up with him and snuffed out the danger. From then on, Molesey had Guildford on the back foot. An assured defence and an impressive cameo from Ben Camara ensured the Moles never came too close to finding a goal. With 78 minutes played, Lance Banton-Brown chased a teasing throughball towards the Molesey goal. Yeates hesitated just a second too long, allowing Banton-Brown space to flick the ball past him as they clattered together. With City back ahead, a tense finale ensued with City’s defence working very hard and particularly indebted to full backs de Freitas and Chaplin for some excellent closing down. Lance was denied a second goal after a dubious offside decision. With three minutes of injury time already played, a spinning ball deceived Simon Cooper and allowed Molesey the chance to level, but a powerful drive clattered back off the post. City held on for a much needed three points which, with Chertsey Town not in action, put them back to the top of the Combined Counties league table.