Banstead Athletic (0) 1, Guildford City (0) 3 
by Barry Underwood 

Banstead’s Merland Rise ground is well known in football circles for its micro-climate. This CCL match, hastily arranged as a result of Covid postponements, was a fine example with mist descending during the first half and the match finishing eventually in fog. Full credit to the players and the match officials for not making a song and dance of the conditions and getting the game played.

The game certainly had a lively opening. Jordan Adeyemi crossed dangerously into the box at one end, followed seconds later by Banstead shooting over with what was to prove their best chance of the game from open play. On six minutes Nat Mensah’s challenging cross into the box was met first time by Adeyemi but home keeper Bill Wilson blocked brilliantly. Immediately Mensah himself got free and again Wilson excelled tipping the City strikers low effort round the post. And that for much of the first period was that. City were clearly the better side, but too often promising moves were breaking down with final passes going astray. The game did liven as half-time approached.  Antonio Simeone saw a powerful header go over the bar, and Nat Mensah slipped in the act of shooting and the ball went wide. Harrison Livingstone had a good effort blocked and in the final moments of the half Mensah’s effort cleared the bar after good interplay on the edge of the box.

In the opening minutes of the second period Guildford scored their sought-after goal. A fine crossfield ball from Glover found Nat Mensah on the left where he drove in and crossed into the box where Harrison Livingstone glanced home a header from 12 yards. From this point City dominated the game with the home side only managing rare forays forward. Livingstone shot wide after taking the ball across the edge of the box, and Nat Mensah’s close-range volley was blocked on the line. On the hour Mike Coppinger found himself in plenty of space in front of goal but his attempted lob was sadly too high. Shortly after I think a Banstead effort went wide, and Mike McEntegart saved another effort but, in the gloom, it was very difficult to say. With 12 minutes remaining City’s top scorer Jordan Adeyemi found himself in plenty of space with the ball at his feet and facing the home goalkeeper. Shooting options were clearly going through his head. After what seemed an age, he decided to pass and Coppinger’s low effort was cleared off the line.  To add to Banstead’s woes their keeper Bill Wilson then limped off forcing an outfield player into goal. Looking to welcome the new custodian Harrison Livingstone smashed an effort into the side netting, but on 82 minutes he was on hand to side foot home after Adeyemi’s effort had been parried by the stand-in. Two minutes later the game was made safe when Billy Connor headed home from Adeyemi’s cross. Jordan Adeyemi was having a productive day as a provider but as a goal scorer his luck was out as on 87 minutes another of his efforts was cleared off the line. Banstead scored a consolation penalty in the final moments after a lengthy conversation between referee and assistant as to whether the player went down in or out of the box. Deep in stoppage time Billy Connor shot wide but manager Tristan Rees will have been well satisfied overall at taking the three points.

Team: Michael McEntegart, Kyrell Palmer, Isy Nzelo, James Glover (Lawson Bright 86), Antonio Simeone, Prince Mbengui (Finley Warren 75), Yannick Monga, Mike Coppinger (James Faulkner 82), Jordan Adeyemi, Harrison Livingstone, Nathaniel Mensah (Billy Connor 82). Unused subs: Max Oldham.

Referee: Erno Vajda

This Wednesday we play our final game before Christmas! We host Carshalton Athletic in the Surrey Senior Cup! Come and support Tristan Rees’s Sweeney!

This season we have announced our FOOTBALL FOR A FIVER scheme. Come and watch the Sweeney at the Spectrum for only £5!