Staines & Lammas (0) 3, Guildford City (3) 3
by Barry Underwood
What a strange season this is turning out to be! After 20 minutes of this Southern Combination Cup match Guildford were three goals to the good and threatening more. But after the break the hosts to their credit came flying out of the traps, scored within a minute or so and then out enthused a wilting City side for the rest of the match.
It was the home side who enjoyed early possession with a number of corners, and in the opening minutes they had a half chance to open the scoring. But going forward Guildford was pulling the Staines defence hither and thither. City took the lead on seven minutes when Kai Beck was put through and was brought down whilst rounding the goalkeeper. A penalty was rightly awarded, and Kai Beck converted. A minute later a low cross from Darnell McDonald was flicked into the side netting by Beck at the near post, but the same player was on target minutes later when he controlled a low cross in the box and was able to pick his spot from 10 yards. On 20 minutes City scored their third when Mike Coppinger, back after suspension, shot home from an acute angle. In the light of the final result, and on reflection, Guildford will wonder how they failed to convert a number of other good chances in the first half. Owen Sims saw a piledriver parried by the keeper Glen Andrews, and Kai Beck saw a 20 yarder strike the crossbar. On 35 minutes City should have scored. Owen Tanner did well to intercept a clearance deep in Staines half. He advanced on goal, but his touch was too heavy, and from the resulting loose ball Mike Coppinger’s low effort was cleared off the line. Late in the half Darnell McDonald saw a shot saved by Andrew’s legs and at the interval nobody saw what was coming after the break.
Almost from the restart Guildford lost possession in attack and the ball was quickly knocked forward where City’s porous defence were caught napping, and it was 3-1. Fired by early success Staines were a different side. They worked hard to close City down and strangely the visitors seemed unable to rise to the challenge. There were still chances though. A Louis Lindsay free kick was met by Manny Acheampong at the back stick, but his close-range effort cannoned off the post. Minutes later there was a big scramble in the Staines six-yard box but frustratingly no City player was able to get the important touch. Staines looked dangerous. A shot whistled just wide but minutes later a low cross was converted from close range, and it was 3-2. Adam Longman saved another effort but on 70 minutes Staines earned a penalty which was smashed home for 3-3. Will May went down in the box amidst strong claims for a penalty that were waved away, and despite possession on the edge of the box nobody seemingly was prepared to pull the trigger. That is excepting 16-year-old Ben Thompson who forced Andrews into a good save. And so, to penalties and with the momentum of an excellent second half it wasn’t a surprise that Staines were victorious.
Team: Adam Longman, Owen Sims, Callum Sullivan, Jake Heighes, James Glover (Tolu Ajayi-Obe 45), Owen Tanner (Niall Stillwell 60), Manny Acheampong (Ben Thompson 71), Louis Lindsay, Kai Beck (Will May 60), Mike Coppinger (Finley Warren 60), Darnell McDonald.
Referee: Daniel Harvey