Raynes Park Vale (1) 2, Guildford City (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
It looked as if Guildford would come away from Grand Drive with a hard-earned point, but as the game entered stoppage time soft defending let in Ben Jordan to claim a late winner. There was no doubt that this was an underwhelming display from the City boys, but overall surely a point was deserved. The first chance of the game fell to the home side when from a set piece Zack Basey saved well at the far post. Guildford looked sharp on the break and Mike Coppinger saw McKerracher in the home goal scurry across to save low down. On 14 minutes Andre Smith – suffering from an earlier tooth extraction – headed wide from Jamie Higgins cross. Twenty minutes into the game Raynes Park took the lead courtesy of a defensive howler. Seconds beforehand Theo Woodhouse had hit the foot of the post from 20 yards. Seconds later an overhit back-pass caused Zack Basey to lose control of the ball. Stranded in no mans land Faiz Yousef lifted the ball over his head and to make sure Sam Jordan headed home. As if defending wasn’t hard enough, Guildford seem too often to be able to give opposition sides valuable assistance. On the half hour Guildford did get on the scoresheet. A fine through ball from Jamie Higgins gave Cyril Ocansey the chance to race through and fire home inside the near post. In the closing stages of the first half Raynes Park twice had free kicks on the edge of the City box that came to nothing, whilst Smith and Ocansey set up Mike Coppinger but his effort went over the bar.
Raynes Park stepped up in the second period, and City were often on the back foot. Early on an Athan Smith-Joseph cross landed on top of the net with the keeper struggling. Otherwise play at either end was uneventful until the hour mark when Vale were allowed three bites at a shot on goal; the third of which narrowly cleared the crossbar. City now came under sustained pressure, and defensively were becoming stretched. On 75 minutes in a rare forward move a powerful Andre Smith half volley was well blocked but generally the game was scrappy. With City thinking of a draw Raynes Park took advantage of slack defending and Ben Jordan was credited with the final touch. This author wrote in his notes “how has that gone in?” and that summed up Guildford’s evening. There was an almighty scramble in Vale’s six-yard box during stoppage time, but it came to nothing and City’s frustration was evident at the final whistle.
Team: Zack Basey, Athan Smith-Joseph, Isy Nzelo, Theo Woodhouse, Greg Haydon, Nemo Adams (David Burton 80), Mike Coppinger (Roberto Dos Santos Saraiva 76), Jamie Higgins, Andre Smith, Cyril Ocansey, Kieran Williams (Jimmy Odagi 70). Unused subs: Josh Everard, Jordan Cavender.
Referee: Stephen Matthews