Guildford City (1) 1, Bedfont FC (1) 1
(12-11 Penalties)
by Barry Underwood 

At the end of a long evening Guildford City advanced to the last eight of the Combined Counties League Challenge Cup. City spurned a number of chances to wrap the game up in the second-half, and thus the game went to a sudden death penalty shoot-out. Mercifully on a cold evening extra-time is no longer a feature in this competition. In a fine display of penalty taking 23 consecutive spot-kicks were scored, before eventually City keeper Stuart Norman dived low to his right to win the tie for the home side.

There was little to choose between the teams in the first half. Bedfont had beaten two Premier division sides in earlier rounds and so were not lacking in confidence. Billy Nutbeam, who had taken a heavy knock in the opening seconds, saw a piledriver blocked. Moments later Joe Condon’s shot on the turn met the same fate.  But on 22 minutes City took the lead. Some fine interplay on the right put Enow Ojong in on goal where he finished with aplomb. Both sides were finding it hard to threaten their respective goals until Bedfont sparked to life after 35 minutes. Applying pressure in the City goalmouth several Bedfont efforts were blocked. But that was clearly a warning as minutes later former City player Cyril Ocansey burst through the middle to slide the ball home for his 21st goal of the season. In the final moments of the first-half there was a spate of activity in the Bedfont box. Following a Hegarty free-kick Joe Condon almost nonchalantly volleyed over from the edge of the box. Then twice in stoppage time Stephan Langley had headed chances, the latter of which came mighty close.

Guildford looked the more dangerous side after the break, and tall striker Joe Condon was at the heart of their best moments. Shortly after the restart Condon headed wide from a free-kick, and minutes later he again headed just wide from a Hegarty long throw. Guildford should have scored on 57 minutes. Joe Condon’s effort was parried and Enow Ojong blazed the loose ball over from 15 yards. City had another golden chance on 64 minutes. Condon’s sublime pass found Stephan Langley in the box. Langley’s first touch was good but his effort also cleared the crossbar much to his chagrin. The action died away a little after this bout of activity. Late in the game Enow Ojong threatened to burst away and his shot under pressure was blocked for a corner. With five minutes remaining City nearly gifted Bedfont a winner and it look a fine covering clearance by Shane Cheeseman to avert the danger.

And so to penalties to decide the tie. Each player on the field at the final whistle successfully netted their penalty including both goalkeepers. Enow Ojong netted again on the second rotation and then Stuart Norman’s save ensured City progress to the quarter final.

Team: Stuart Norman, Stephan Langley, Billy Nutbeam (Shane Cheeseman 28), Ashley Hitchinson (Campbell Scott 65), Oliver Creed, Tom Hegarty, Scott Costello, Jamil Saleh, Joe Condon (Jamie Pearce 80), Enow Ojong, Leon Dadey (Sam Hunt 76). Unused sub: Zeid Hannachi.

Referee: Dan Whale

Attendance – 42