Deal Town (0) 2, Guildford City (0) 0
by Barry Underwood
An away trip to SCEL Premier title favourites Deal Town was always going to be a tough assignment for this young City side. And so it eventually proved despite Guildford putting in a mighty shift to remain in the game until the last moment. The rain had fallen incessantly up until kick-off time, but the pitch was eminently playable with no standing water in evidence.
It was the home side that dominated early play, and much of the possession was in Guildford’s half. A couple of Deal headers cleared the crossbar and twice City keeper Lewis Hoy saved well. But City’s defence remained disciplined and coped well under the pressure. As the half went on City started to build in confidence. Darnell McDonald on the left flank started to make inroads, and on 34 minutes his 25 yarder fizzed inches wide of the Deal post. With five minutes of the half remaining Guildford came perilously close to taking the lead. Mike Coppinger’s corner was flicked into the six-yard box where Louis Lindsay turned the ball goalward only for Henry Newcombe in the Deal goal to somehow paw the ball off the line. The home side themselves came close in the final seconds of the half but a desperate City clearance cleared the danger.
City opened the second period in lively fashion. Darnell McDonald’s low cross just evaded Will May and Kai Beck in the box. During this period City looked the more likely to score and from Lewis Taylor’s cross McDonald saw a fierce shot saved well at the near post, to be followed by Jack Knight firing the loose ball over the bar from 15 yards. Moments later May glanced a header over the bar from a Coppinger corner. On 58 minutes Deal scored from a close-range header and it did knock some of the stuffing out of City. On 73 minutes Deal went down to 10 players after a poor challenge on a City defender. But Guildford couldn’t find their earlier momentum and Deal looked more dangerous. Several times Lewis Hoy saved well to keep City in the game. Lewis Taylor did see a header loop over the bar, whilst James Glover burst out of defence but couldn’t get enough power in his effort that drifted wide. In the final moments, with City pushing forward, Deal broke away and Ben Chapman had the simple task of tapping home to ensure Deal’s presence in the next round.
Special mention to Guildford’s travelling supporters – The Sweeney – who sang throughout supporting their side. There will be clubs with more supporters, but few with fans with as much passion for their team.
Team: Lewis Hoy, Lewis Taylor, Kurt Greenaway (Ethan Cassie 81), Tolu Ajayi-Obe, James Glover, Louis Lindsay, Kai Beck (Manny Achaempong 68), Jack Knight, Will May, Mike Coppinger (Jack Cleevely 68), Darnell McDonald. Unused subs: George Fox, Callum Sullivan, Christon John-Ahye.
Referee: Ben Marshall
Attendance – 273