Guildford City (0) 1, Abbey Rangers (1) 2 
by Barry Underwood 

Guildford City went into the game looking for their first league points and the early signs were good when in a bright opening they carved out two good goalscoring chances. But after that bright start Abbey took the initiative and it was only late in the game when City moved to three at the back that the home side seriously threatened the Abbey goal.

After just two minutes Scott Costello forced the Abbey keeper Sam Freeman into action with a shot from the edge of the box. Encouragingly City’s attacking players were causing problems to the home defence. On eight minutes Guildford should have scored. Good work by newcomers Charlie Samuel and Zeid Hannachi gave Leon Dadey a great shooting chance. Sadly, his effort was under hit and Freeman was able to gather the ball at the second attempt. Abbey had looked dangerous on the break and Stuart Norman had needed to be alert to clear a long ball through. Abbey took the lead after 20 minutes. There was an air of good fortune about the goal which came when a City clearance hit Charlie Postance flush in the face and the ball rebounded into the net. The rest of the half, barring a good effort from Luke Robertson, was uneventful with Abbey enjoying the bulk of possession.

After the break Guildford saw more of the ball. From a corner Stephan Langley rose high at the far post to head over the bar. A decisive moment in the game came on the hour when Abbey’s Luke Robertson found himself in space on the edge of the box from where he hit an excellent curling effort into the corner of the net. A two-goal lead set Guildford back. It could have got worse when ex-Sweeney favourite Mike Coppinger jinked past several challenges and shot narrowly wide. For City Lloyd Connolly saw a back header well saved by Freeman, followed immediately by a strong Abbey claim for a penalty when Robertson went down under a challenge when through on goal. For the last 10 minutes City piled forward. Billy Nutbeam crashed an effort against the underside of the bar and the ball was cleared. Two minutes later Guildford did reduce the arrears when Ash Hitchinson’s cross was smashed home from 15 yards by Charlie Samuel. Deep in stoppage time both sides could have scored. Hitchinson’s shot from the edge was miscued, whilst Asher Reid for the visitors blazed over an open goal.

Team: Stuart Norman, Ashley Hitchinson, Billy Nutbeam (Nathaniel Williams 81), Lloyd Connolly, Stephan Langley (Morgan Porter 65), Jamie Pearce, Scott Costello (Billy Murphy 60), Shane Cheeseman, Charlie Samuel, Zeid Hannachi, Leon Dadey. Unused subs: Neill Roissetter, Kyle Henry.

Referee: Gareth Mays

Attendance – 98