Jersey Bulls (1) 2, Guildford City 0
by Barry Underwood
Tristan Rees and his impressive Guildford team were desperately disappointed at the final whistle to walk off the Springfield Park pitch with no reward. Title favourites Jersey started the match well and had the better of the early exchanges. But late in the half and throughout the second period City had the best of things as they played their best football of the season. The only difference was that Jersey finished their few chances clinically, whilst City sadly squandered a greater number of opportunities.
In the first 10 minutes Jersey saw two efforts on goal blocked, including one from the impressive boot of Sol Solomon. An Omar Folkes flick-on gave Nathaniel Mensah a shooting chance which was comfortably saved by Van Der Vliet in the home goal. Still Jersey looked the livelier. A through ball saw Mike McEntegart out quickly to make a fine blocking save, and then reacting first to snaffle the loose ball. On 22 minutes Jersey went ahead. A clever move saw City’s defence on the left sucked in and a fine pass gave big striker Lorne Bickley the chance to side foot home. Guildford upped their game as the half advanced with crisper and faster passing. On the half hour Nat Mensah side footed a good opportunity into the side netting, although minutes later Jersey hit the outside of an upright from a curling free kick. Twice late on City forced fine saves from the diving Van der Vliet; Jordan Adeyemi cutting in and seeing his effort saved, and Mike Coppinger forcing a corner attempting to convert Max Oldham’s cross.
Guildford’s second-half performance was hugely impressive with some excellent passing moves, organised defending, and individual pieces of skill. After two minutes a low cross found Omar Folkes in the box, but a second touch caused the chance to be lost. A minute later a delicate flick from the big man just evaded the onrushing Mike Coppinger and it was clear that City were going to give this task a damn good go. It was all Guildford at this point. Mike Coppinger, who came in for plenty of close attention throughout, saw a quickly taken effort go just wide. On 65 minutes Guildford should have equalised. A Coppinger through ball gave Jordan Adeyemi a shooting chance from an angle. There was plenty of power in his effort, but the ball somehow hit the inside of the post and skewed across the penalty area. Shortly after following a lovely move, a cross from the by-line was met by Ethan Nelson-Roberts. Following the textbook, he headed downward, but the ball bounced up off the 3G pitch and over the bar. Lorne Bickley headed over from a deep cross, but Guildford were still in control. The skipper Antonio Simeone, still up after a corner, latched onto a long clearance and duly half-volleyed an effort into the side netting. With 13 minutes remaining a rare error in the City defence gave Jersey the chance to confirm the win. An ambitious pass deep in their half was intercepted but Sol Solomon still had work to do. He jinked past two defenders before drilling the ball home for his 21st goal of the season. The second goal did set City back although l moment in the late stages was the unlucky dismissal of Jersey’s Calvin Weir for a second yellow card.
Team: Mike McEntegart, Kyrell Palmer, Ethan Nelson-Roberts, Bertie Lloyd, Antonio Simeone, Prince Mbengui, Max Oldham, Mike Coppinger, Nat Mensah, Omar Folkes (Josh Everard 59), Jordan Adeyemi. Unused subs: Campbell Scott, James Glover, Luke Roberts, Chris Adams.
Referee: Richard Dyer
Attendance – 724