Guildford City (2) 3, Balham (0) 1
by Barry Underwood
Guildford extended their unbeaten run to six matches by beating a talented Balham side at the Spectrum. Manager Tristan Rees had seen his period in charge extended until the end of the season and at the end of a 90 minutes he was able to celebrate the win with his watching family. In actual fact the opening 30 minutes were fairly uneventful, although it was clear that the south London side were in a confident mood themselves after five consecutive wins. Of the chances in the opening period two fell to the visitors. Ash Snadden had a header saved at the back post, then after a missed header Tom Read snatched at a half volley which hurtled well wide. Meanwhile debutant Ethan Nelson-Roberts for the home side saw a shot from the edge of the box blocked for a corner. As the first half entered its later stages Guildford looked livelier in front of goal. Jordan Adeyemi had already shown skill in a tight space to shoot over the bar, but after 36 minutes he thundered a rebound against the post after Mike Coppinger had forced Riley into a fine save. A minute later City were in front; Kyrell Palmer’s cross from the right being glanced home by Adeyemi for his eighth goal of the season. Applying pressure right until the whistle Bertie Lloyd headed over at the back post. Then as the game entered stoppage time Prince Mbengui slid a delicate pass into the box and Nathaniel Mensah lifted the ball at full stretch over the advancing Riley.
To their credit Balham came back strongly after the break. Careless loss of possession in City’s half caused a moment of danger but Antonio Simeone covered superbly to clear at full stretch. Moments later Balham broke quickly from their own penalty area and the imposing James Adebayo saw a shot blocked. City with their two-goal advantage looked comfortable but were penned back for long periods. It wasn’t altogether surprising when Balham did score on 68 minutes. The ball bobbled around in the box and Tom Read was able to turn the ball home. But Balham’s joy was short lived. Three minutes later, from a Mike Coppinger corner, Bertie Lloyd rose the highest to head home from six yards. Mike McEntegart saved brilliantly from close range late on, but Guildford saw the game out to claim another valuable three points.
Team: Michael McEntegart, Kyrell Palmer, Ethan Nelson-Roberts (Campbell Scott 72), Bertie Lloyd, Antonio Simeone, Price Mbengui, Yannick Monga, Max Oldham, Mike Coppinger, Nathaniel Mensah, Jordan Adeyemi (Josh Bullen 86). Unused subs: Josh Everard, Joe Monday, Luke Roberts.
Referee: Scott Orchard
Attendance – 117