by Barry Underwood
Two goals from a workmanlike Raynes Park side was enough to see off a Guildford City side seemingly lacking a cutting edge. Frustratingly for those City supporters present the home side scored spectacularly from two of their three shots on goal whilst City, despite having much of the possession, struggled to get a clear sight of goal and when they did they were unable to really threaten the target. From last season’s relatively free scoring side, City this season have scored just three goals in five league matches, including one from the penalty spot, and none of the three scored by an acknowledged striker. To be honest after the opening exchanges there was no real hint as to how the match would develop. Nathaniel Williams, introduced into the side as a central striker, looked lively with his pace and running off the ball causing Vale problems. Defensively City also looked secure and it came as something of a surprise when on 19 minutes the home side took an unlikely lead; the ball being headed out of defence to the edge of the area, and the ball being returned with some venom straight into the corner of the goal giving Liam Beach no chance. On 28 minutes Athan Smith-Joseph cut in from the left and his 20 yard effort was saved low down by Sam Filler in the home goal. Minutes later Nurrudin Hanif curled a free-kick just wide and until half-time City enjoyed their best period of the match. Dan Stewart curled a 25 yard effort over the bar, but from a succession of corners and free-kicks into the box City were unable to force an equaliser.
The second period was similarly frustrating for City. Smith-Joseph had an early back post header comfortably saved and too often the ball didn’t seem to run in Guildford’s favour. On the hour a powerful strike from an angle by Dan Stewart was well saved by Filler, and seconds later Nathaniel Williams headed over from close range following Andy Ottley’s delicate cross. As so often happens in football City were harshly made to pay for failing to find the net and almost out of the blue City failed to clear a high ball, and again Vale found the net from the edge of the box to go two goals ahead. Dan Akinwande tried to respond with a powerful effort but Filler saved comfortably. The lack of a goal certainly wasn’t for the want of trying but however patient or direct the build-up was the ball wouldn’t fall in front of goal. There is no doubt at all that City has a talented side but at the moment the side is lacking some of last season’s impressive cohesion.
Team: Liam Beach, Alex McWilliam, Nurrudin Hanif, Dan Akinwande, Matt York, Tadej Venta, Andy Ottley (Curtis George 60), Miguel Anderson, Nathaniel Williams (Rory Cornelius 76), Dan Stewart, Athan Smith-Joseph (Kiyanu Pillay 60). Unused subs: Stuart Searle.
Referee: Hugh Gilroy
Attendance – 30