Guildford City (0) 0, Alton (2) 2
by Barry Underwood
When Guildford City beat Camberley, Tadley, Colliers Wood and Chalfont last month, it seemed that the team had turned the corner and would soon set about rising up the table. But this second consecutive home defeat against a lower league side has seen the team take a number of steps backward. The visitors had beaten Hartley Wintney in a cup competition during the week and went into this game clearly in a confident mood. City’s line up looked strong with newcomers Cameron Gyeabour and Jack Webb starting up front having signed from Badshot Lea and Wokingham & Emmbrook respectively.
Alton had the near perfect start taking the lead on four minutes. From a corner their striker standing totally unmarked headed purposefully into the corner. Apart from that goal there was little to choose between the sides, and in the 20th minute Guildford had a golden opportunity to equalise. Scott Costello drove into the box on the right and his low cross should have been converted by Stephan Langley at the back post; but somehow the ball was bundled wide from three yards. On a boggy and uneven surface passing football was difficult and it was no surprise that the play was scrappy. As half-time neared Alton missed with another free header, and if that warning wasn’t heeded Alton scored a second goal a minute later when a ball in from the right was turned in from 15 yards.
Dissatisfied with the first-half performance manager Pete Ruggles introduced three substitutes – Enow Ojong, Jamil Saleh and Ricardo Andre – for the second period. The changes had a positive effect in that City dominated possession after the break. But Alton defended well and Guildford struggled to create an opening. As the hour approached Ricardo Andre’s cross was met by Cameron Gyeabour whose header was saved comfortably by Kieran Greene. Guildford threw a barrage of crosses and long throws into the box to no avail. Jamie Pearce had a half chance but shot into the side netting, and several times Guildford players achieved good positions but tended to overplay. As the game went into stoppage time Scott Costello’s hooked attempt was headed off the line. But it was Alton who deservedly claimed the points and Guildford City must reset and soon find again their October form.
Team: Craig Smith, Stephan Langley, Shane Cheeseman (Jamil Saleh 45), Ashley Hitchinson (Jamie Pearce 62), Oliver Creed (Ricardo Andre 45), Lloyd Connelly, Leon Dadey, Zeid Hannachi (Enow Ojong 45), Cameron Gyeabour, Scott Costello, Jack Webb (Dejarhn Grant 67).
Referee: Stephen Matthews
Attendance – 105