Tadley Calleva (0) 1, Guildford City (0) 1 (Guildford win 4-2 on penalties)
by Barry Underwood
After an impressive performance Guildford City advanced to the second round of the FA Vase at Barlow’s Park, courtesy of a nervy penalty shoot-out. With Enow Ojong cup tied, and Stuart Norman and Ash Hitchinson out injured changes had to be made to the line-up. But this is a much-improved City side and onlookers writing them off do so at their peril. Tadley’s officials thought the first half low key but that was a mark of Guildford’s positive input into the game. Let’s not forget Tadley are a form side having beaten front runners Redhill last week and returned from Jersey with a point the week beforehand.
City looked strong defensively and there were few alarms in the visitor’s goalmouth. An early error did see Tadley’s impressive Jamie Johnston have an early shooting chance but his effort blazed over the crossbar. Guildford looked to get the ball forward and especially to Leon Dadey and Harvey Valter on the flanks. On 16 minutes City carved out a golden opportunity. After a good passing move Dejarhn Grant was put clear on the edge of the box but his low shot was saved brilliantly by Craig Atkinson in the home goal. On the half hour Tadley won a free-kick 25 yards from City’s goal, but Guildford’s wall did their job and the danger was averted. Minutes before the half-time interval Dejarhn Grant gave Jacob Breckon a shooting opportunity which Atkinson smothered at the second attempt.
Immediately after the halftime break Dejarhn Grant forced a flying save from Atkinson with a powered shot from 25 yards. But it was Tadley who took the lead on 48 minutes and what a goal it was. Ex-Basingstoke striker Ben Wright picked up a loose ball some 40+ yards from goal and his sweetly struck shot soared into the net over the bemused Craig Smith in the City goal. As the half-advanced City pushed higher up the field in search of an equaliser. Dejarhn Grant shot wide and a minute later Stephan Langley’s effort was parried and only a desperate clearance prevented Grant tapping home the loose ball. Olly Edwardes and Jamil Saleh were positive additions off of the bench as City pushed forward. Harvey Valter shot wide from the edge of the box on 65 minutes but eventually on 79 minutes City scored their equaliser. Zeid Hannachi ran impressively forward and found Jacob Breckon in the box and the big striker slotted home from 15 yards.
So, with the scores level at 90 minutes the match moved to penalties. In the previous round Tadley had scored five from five penalties to beat Calne, and with the shoot-out taking place in front of the home support it was a test of nerve for the City boys. But full credit to the team as Jake Rumble, Jamil Saleh, Zeid Hannachi and Stephan Langley all converted their penalties, whilst stand-in keeper Craig Smith became the hero saving twice to earn Guildford a place in the second round.
Team: Craig Smith, Stephan Langley, Jake Rumble, Neil Roissetter (Olly Edwardes 64), Oliver Creed, Lloyd Connelly, Leon Dadey, Zeid Hannachi, Jacob Breckon, Dejarhn Grant (Jamil Saleh 70), Harvey Valter. Unused subs: Michael Leech, Richard Shelley, Shane Cheeseman, Scott Costello, Neizan Fernandez.
Referee: David Pilling