Banstead Athletic (1) 2, Guildford City (0) 1 
by Barry Underwood 

Somebody famous once said “Life is a series of ups and downs”. And so, it is at Guildford City FC. After two consecutive victories the scene was set to build a run that could lift the side up the table.  That still is the aim but this defeat at Merland Rise, courtesy of a hugely disappointing performance, was a set back to the momentum and spirit building within the side. Banstead’s ground in Tadworth is located high on the Surrey Downs and is renowned for its extreme weather conditions. But by Merland Rise standards this was a balmy day, and the firm playing surface gave the game an end of season feel.   

The first half was a scrappy affair with limited passing football on show. Too often Guildford resorted to aimless high balls forward which were dealt with time after time by the home defence. That said City had a golden chance to take the lead on 13 minutes when Cameron Gyeabour gave Enow Ojong the chance to cross low to the unmarked Cameron Edwin at the back post. However the cross was just behind the tall striker and reaching back Edwin couldn’t get enough power on his effort and the ball trickled into the keepers arms.   Minutes later Banstead opened the scoring. A deep cross to the back post eluded the defence and was headed home. The home side gained confidence and were worth their lead with Tobi Faladi and Ato Okai especially looking dangerous. On 31 minutes Stuart Norman was forced into a flying save to keep the deficit at just one goal. As half-time approached City carved out a golden chance. A delicate pass from Jamil Saleh put Enow Ojong in on goal but home goalkeeper Kieran Newman excelled saving well with his foot.

Guildford weren’t short of corners or set pieces but the imposing figure of Banstead skipper Derek Feyi with his magnet-like head continually mopped up City’s aerial attempts. City looked better on the ball with the introduction of Stephan Langley and Leon Dadey off the bench, but chances in front of goal were still few and far between. As Guildford pushed forward spaces opened at the back and Oliver Creed made a tremendous block to prevent a second goal.  Slowly and belatedly City started to drag themselves in the game. A cross from Enow Ojong was met by Cameron Edwin whose effort forced Newman into a fine reaction save. Hopes of a recovery were then dashed!  Lost possession and then a neat back heel put Tobi Shoyoye clear where he calmly lobbed past the advancing Stuart Norman. Guildford threw everything forward. On 87 minutes a Dadey cross saw Jamie Pearce’s shot blocked on the line and in the ensuing scramble two further shots were blocked. The ball just wouldn’t go in the net! From the next attack though City did score when Shane Cheeseman’s cross was volleyed home by Jamie Pearce.  City went down to 10 men for the extended stoppage time. Pushing forward Oliver Creed was exposed at the back, and being the start of the rugby six nations, he chose a tackle from that particular game. So despite the pressure Guildford couldn’t bring the scores level.

Team: Stuart Norman, Campbell Scott (Shane Cheeseman 69), Billy Nutbeam (Dejarhn Grant 85), Ashley Hitchinson (Stephan Langley 56), Oliver Creed, Tom Hegarty, Cameron Edwin, Jamil Saleh, Cameron Gyeabour (Jamie Pearce 82), Enow Ojong, Zeid Hannachi (Leon Dadey 60).

Referee: Stephen Matthews

Attendance – 32