Tooting & Mitcham (4) 4, Guildford City (1) 1
by Barry Underwood
It was the Shay Brennan show at Imperial Fields, in an impressive home performance that saw Guildford lose their 100% league record. For the second time this season Brennan scored four goals in a game to take his tally to 12 from just eight matches. The match was played throughout in a stifling 32-degree heat, and it was a credit to both sides that they put on a show in such circumstances.
It was Guildford who had the first sight of goal when from a corner Tolu Ajayi-Obe headed over the bar. It wasn’t long though until Tooting, and Brennan in particular, found his shooting boots. There was a hint of controversy about this first goal. Jack Cleevely was challenged heavily in midfield, and with the refereeing waving play on, the ball went forward quickly, and Brennan shot home from an angle from 20 yards. Going behind has not stopped City thus far this season, and with Manny Acheampong having some joy down the right flank there was cause for optimism. Nathaniel Mensah saw a snapshot comfortably saved following a free kick, before at the other end Adam Longman had to react quickly to nullify a quick break. Guildford went two behind on 24 minutes. The impressive Warren Colman was allowed to run too far with the ball and the chance came for Brennan to net from close range. But true to form City embarked upon what we hoped was a comeback. Tooting keeper Tom Theobald failed to gather an in-swinging Louis Lindsay corner and Nathaniel Mensah was able to turn the loose ball home. The mantra was don’t concede further until the interval and we are in the game. But Shay Brennan hadn’t read the script, and a goal scorer of that reputation doesn’t need a second invitation. Two errors from the young City players saw Brennan net in the 41st and 43rd minutes; the second an inch perfect lob from 40 yards.
There was a mountain to climb in the second half, but Guildford gave their all in the oppressive heat to try and remedy the situation. Early in the half Mike Coppinger’s powerful shot was deflected for a corner, and minutes later James Glover glanced a header just wide. On the hour Manny Acheampong did superbly to chase down an overhit pass and then cross for Coppinger who sadly couldn’t make strong enough contact with his head. Aside from two fine diving saves from Adam Longman late in the game, Tooting were largely content to protect their lead. For City Ethan Cassie and Will May both had shots blocked in crowded goalmouths, and there was no faulting the side’s effort. But this is a young City side for whom this is a big learning process. There will be days like this, but that takes nothing away from a very impressive performance by the home side.
Team: Adam Longman, Campbell Scott (George Fox 45), Darnell McDonald, Tolu Ajayi-Obe, James Glover, Louis Lindsay (Kai Beck 63), Manny Acheampong (Ethan Cassie 63), Jack Cleevely (Christon John-Ahye 58), Will May (Callum Sullivan 83), Mike Coppinger, Nathaniel Mensah.
Referee: Connor Fanelli
Attendance – 196