Guildford City (1) 1, AFC Croydon (3) 3
by Barry Underwood 

These are hard times for Guildford City.  The aftermath of manager Nikki Bull’s departure has seen an exodus of players causing the caretaker management team the headache of trying to field a competitive team. But Koo Dumbuya and Nick Ayling are working tirelessly to plug the gaps. It was no great surprise that it was a young side that faced AFC Croydon who have strengthened considerably in recent weeks.

Sadly, City couldn’t have made a worse start to the match with Kaz Richards scoring direct from a corner after just two minutes.  Thereafter the visitors looked lively, and City’s young defence was continually stretched, and Mike McEntegart was forced into an excellent blocking save. It was no surprise when Croydon scored a second. Following a corner, the ball was only half cleared, and Jack Marney smashed the ball home from eight yards. Remarkably within minutes there were two further goals. First City got back into the game when 18-year-old debutant Adam Williams scored with a shot that took a significant deflection past the diving Matt Bishop. However just a minute later on 25 minutes Croydon regained their two-goal lead when Nahum Green shot into the roof of the net from close range. With the last kick of the half the visitors should have gone further ahead but the post came to City’s rescue.

To their credit Guildford upped their game in the second period. Croydon certainly looked dangerous on the break but with good fortune and good defending clear chances on goal were restricted. On 62 minutes City came perilously close to pulling a goal back when a superb effort from Gianluca Zanre Botti thumped against the post from 20 yards. With 15 minutes remaining Croydon shot over from a good position, then in stoppage time City’s Zanre Botti’s header was brilliantly saved by Matt Bishop.

Team: Mike McEntegart, Sam drew, Kyrell Palmer, Yannick Monga, Antonio Simeone, Lawson Bright, Adam Williams (Zac Seys 76), Adam Green, Gianluca Zanre Botti, Alberto Santana (Fariz Khallouqi 68), Mark Watkins. Unused subs: Harry Nicholas, Jack Coleman.

Referee: Joe Wright

Attendance – 82