Alton (1) 3, Guildford City (0) 0
by Barry Underwood
City slipped disappointingly to defeat in what was advertised as a relegation six-pointer. There wasn’t a great deal between the sides in the first-half but City were certainly second best after the break. With nine matches still remaining Guildford have to find a way of finding the wins that would ensure safety from the drop. Alton, playing in front of a large Non-League Day crowd including a vocal contingent of City fans, showed their intent from the off. City’s defence were twice alerted to the danger in the first ten minutes when the home side shot into the side netting and then caused Stuart Norman to make a fine blocking save. It wasn’t one way however. Young debutant Alex Body saw a shot from the edge of the box saved low down, and City skipper Scott Costello saw a half volley clear the crossbar. Alton opened the scoring on 22 minutes. A clever cross on the turn gave Luke Perkins the chance to slide the ball past the advancing Stuart Norman. Excepting a low shot saved for a corner from City’s Shi O’Connor, the remainder of the half saw little goalmouth action with both sides knowing that the next goal would be crucial.
Both teams had early chances at the start of the second period. Stuart Norman had come to the edge of the area to thwart an opportunity, but when the loose ball was turned goalward the impressive Leon Dadey got back to clear spectacularly off the line. Moments later at the other end a Scott Costello effort was well saved by Lewis Mees in the home goal. All the time there was just one goal in the game you felt City had a chance. But that changed on 72 minutes when a cross was turned home by Siph Mdlalose. Seven minutes later Alton scored again via Luke Perkins and the game was effectively over. Guildford did push forward late on. A nice flick from Billy Nutbeam gave Alex Body a shooting chance but his effort sliced wide. Then after a nice build up Body delayed too long getting his shot away and his effort was blocked. In stoppage time Harvey Valter gave Billy Nutbeam a difficult shooting chance and his effort screwed over the bar.
Team: Stuart Norman, Stephan Langley (Campbell Scott 65), Leon Dadey, Tommy Brunton (Shane Cheeseman 82), Ashley Hitchinson, Jamie Pearce, Jack Webb (Shane Rideout 55), Billy Nutbeam, Alex Body, Scott Costello (Harvey Valter 72), Shi O’Connor (Ethan Lindo 55).
Referee: Oliver Bierman
Attendance – 302