Guildford City (1) 2, Fleet Town (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City bounced back from last week’s league defeat in dramatic circumstances at the Spectrum. City played some nice football in spells, but for much of the game there was little between the sides. But the game intensified in the latter stages and during 17 minutes of stoppage time (!) there was action galore.
The first shot on target from Fleet’s Louis Blake was comfortably saved by Adam Longman. Guildford themselves briefly thought they had gone ahead when Will May turned past his marker and drilled a low shot inside the far post. Referee Tolga Inanc however had spotted a handball in the build-up. There was indecision in the City defence when a ball was allowed to bounce, and Louis Blake’s effort was well saved by Adam Longman. On 26 minutes Fleet again came close when from a free-kick Connor Young deflected the ball onto the crossbar and over for a goal kick. Guildford themselves came close from the unlikely boot of full-back Lewis Taylor. A corner was cleared, and Taylor struck a thunderbolt of a shot from 35 yards that forced Callum Smart into a fine save low down. Five minutes before the break Fleet went ahead from the penalty spot courtesy of top scorer Connor Young. Three minutes into stoppage time Guildford also won what was probably a fortuitus penalty. Manny Acheampong drove into the box and his shot struck a hand from close range. Up stepped Will May who netted to bring the scores level at the break.
The visitors opened the second half brightly. A header cleared the bar, and moments later Adam Longman saved well at his near post. On the hour mark City’s Tolu Ajayi-Obe saw his header from a corner headed off the line. Almost immediately in response Adam Longman tipped a long shot wide. The tempo of the match changed in the 82nd minute. There was a terrible clash of heads when Manny Acheampong raced onto a through ball and headed past the advancing goalkeeper. But Callum Smart was advancing at speed, and he clattered into Acheampong leaving them both prostrate on the ground. After lengthy treatment both players left the field with Fleet’s Connor Young exchanging his shooting boots for the goalkeeper gloves. Sensing victory was possible City went forward with purpose. They thought they had won a penalty when Ethan Cassie’s low cross seemed to be handled on the floor, but the ref waved play on. In the tenth minute of stoppage time Guildford did win a penalty. George Fox was upended in the box and up stepped Mike Coppinger for the spot kick. But Connor Young showed he is equally adept at goalkeeping by saving well low down. The ball though was immediately recycled and from Kai Becks pass Nathaniel Mensah swivelled and drove home what proved to be the winner. Finally, after a half lasting an hour and two minutes the whistle finally went and City moved up to second place in the league.
Team: Adam Longman, Lewis Taylor (George Fox 55), Callum Sullivan, Tolu Ajayi-Obe, James Glover, Owen Sims, Manny Acheampong (Ethan Cassie 86), Owen Tanner, Will May (Kai Beck 67), Mike Coppinger, Nathaniel Mensah. Unused subs: Louis Lindsay, Jack Cleevely.
Referee: Tolga Inanc
Attendance – 164