Sheerwater (0) 1, Guildford City (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
In the traditional Easter fixture both local rivals battled out a draw which was on reflection the right result. Guildford had the better of the first period and deservedly led at the interval, whilst the home side came out after the break a different side and dominated much of the play. City manager Pete Ruggles thought the result right but was critical of the lack of protection provided for his players during a tough second half. 18 year old Sam Hunt was the victim of an industrial challenge in front of the benches that led to him spending the afternoon at A&E; and incredibly no foul was given. Tom Hegarty was also the victim of a poor challenge which will put him out of action for several games.
City in the first half were able to play the free-flowing football seen in recent games. Leon Dadey on the left flank especially looked a danger every time he touched the ball. Dadey was involved in the City’s goal on six minutes. Shi O’Connor had done well in the middle of the park before feeding Dadey on the left. Dadey’s cross into the box looked as if it might dip over Zac Ward in the Sheers goal and into the net, but Ward managed to claw the ball out where City’s Jack Webb managed to convert whilst at full stretch. Shortly after Jamie Pearce blazed over on the turn after a good build up. Similar build up play gave Scott Costello the chance to shoot just outside the box but his powerful effort was parried by Ward. Moments later a flick on from an Hegarty long throw was hooked over the bar by Andy Matthews. On the half hour Sheers had their first attempt on goal; Tommy Whitby blazing over from beyond the back post. On 35 minutes an exciting Leon Dadey run gave him a great shooting chance which Ward saved well. As the half came near its end Andy Matthews made a goal saving block, and for City a powerful Shi O’Connor run into the box came to nothing when he failed to get a shot away.
From the off after the break Sheers were on the front foot. Clearly fired up they forced a save from Craig Smith within seconds of the restart. City defended well but couldn’t find the cohesion evident in the first period. On 54 minutes Sheers saw a long-range shot tipped over the bar by Craig Smith, and from the resulting corner an effort went into the side netting. On the hour Sheerwater scored their equaliser. There were several chances to clear before Tommy Whitby curled in the equaliser from outside the box. Late in the game City started to create some meaningful attacks. Sam Hunt’s cross found Jack Webb but falling backwards he could only slice his effort wide. Craig Smith did well to usher an attacker wide to prevent a shot on goal. On 86 minutes City had the ball in the net through Scott Costello but an offside flag quickly quelled celebrations. A superb Stephan Langley cross just evaded the onrushing Cameron Gyeabour, and in the final moments Craig Smith made a comfortable save from a shot just outside the box.
Team: Craig Smith, Ashley Hitchinson, Billy Nutbeam, Tommy Brunton (Shane Rideout 62), Andy Matthews, Tom Hegarty, Jack Webb (Stephan Langley 78), Scott Costello, Jamie Pearce (Sam Hunt 65)(Neil Roissetter 90), Shiloh O’Connor (Cameron Gyeabour 65), Leon Dadey.
Referee: Jordan Crichlow
Attendance – 150