Guildford City (1) 1, Cobham FC (0) 0 
by Barry Underwood 

New manager Nikki Bull had said that it was important to him that his side won this first home match in charge, and his new team duly delivered albeit with the hindrance of playing for 47 minutes with ten men. In truth going down to ten players after Ryan Huckle’s red card didn’t prove to be too much of a hindrance with the City players en-masse working overtime to plug the gap, and moreover still press forward.

The game opened quietly with both sides finding their way. As the game developed it was clear that Guildford’s policy was to get the ball into the box from out wide with regular crosses coming in from both flanks. From one dangerous Adam Green cross only a flying headed clearance prevented a clear chance on goal. City upped the ante and from a corner Yannick Monga blazed well over the bar, whilst on 20 minutes Nathaniel Mensah’s looping headed attempt from distance was headed off the line. Five minutes later Mensah headed the ball back into the danger area where it was cleared to Harry Laflin, but Cobham keeper Will Lacey was equal to the ex-Ascot mans powerful effort. Almost immediately Lacey was called into action again to make a fine double save; Reece Deakin’s effort being parried, and Nat Mensah’s follow-up effort being saved with the keeper’s feet. The visitor’s first site of goal came from a free kick on 27 minutes that was curled over the crossbar. Minutes later Cobham’s veteran midfielder Craig Lewington side footed an effort wide from the edge of the box. Then, a little out of the blue, City scored what proved to be the match winner. Another cross into the box was cleared but straight to Harry Laflin who volleyed spectacularly home from fully 30 yards for a glorious goal. Harrison Livingstone then blazed a good opportunity over the bar, and on 41 minutes the same player forced a good save from Lacey from a free kick. Just prior to the interval debutant midfielder Ryan Huckle was shown a red card by referee Lathey for a poor challenge that seemed to most witnesses to be a rather harsh decision.

Fears that with ten men City would sit deep and defend their lead in the second half were soon allayed when at the opening of the half Harry Laflin’s first time effort went just wide. On the hour Nat Mensah’s pulled a cross back from the by-line and on this occasion Reece Deakin’s first-time effort was mishit wide. Minutes later the same two players combined when a lovely flick from Deakin gave Mensah a shooting chance which cleared the crossbar. On 74 minutes Reece Deakin found himself in space in the box but his powerful shot was blocked at full stretch. Shortly after Harry Laflin glanced a header wide from Billy Connor’s cross. City’s battling players understandably tired in the late stages and twice 16-year-old defender James Glover made fine covering tackles to avert shooting opportunities. But City successfully saw the game out to claim Nikki Bull’s sought after three points.

Team: Mike McEntegart, Adam Green, Ethan Nelson-Roberts, Ryan Huckle, Antonio Simeone, James Glover, Harrison Livingstone, Yannick Monga, Reece Deakin, Harry Laflin, Nathaniel Mensah. Unused subs: Kyrell Palmer, Alfie Huckle, Finley Warren, Jack Coleman.

Referee: Tom Lathey

Attendance – 109

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