Tadley Calleva (0) 2, Guildford City (2) 3
by Ian Plested
The last time Guildford City won away in the FA Cup was in September 2010, almost five years ago and on that day Guildford City beat Tonbridge Angels to go on their best FA Cup run since reforming in 1996. City had not even won an FA Cup match at home since August 2012. On this occasion the Guildford City team and supporters travelled to North Hampshire to Wessex Division 1 team Tadley Calleva. Although from the league below City knew that did not mean anything, especially in the FA Cup. City started brightly with Anthony Baker and Dan Stewart finding space and Athan Smith-Joseph causing problems on the left wing. Five minutes into the game Dan Stewart received the ball well on the right hand side of Tadley’s penalty box and the Tadley defender lunged in. Stewart was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot. Dan Stewart stepped up and slotted the goal past the home keeper.
Tadley tried to get back into the game, but Guildford’s defence looked secure and in the 17th minute, City’s young left winger Athan Smith-Joseph received the ball on the halfway line on the left hand side and lofted the ball past a challenge from the Tadley right back and continued his run to the edge of the penalty box. Smith-Joseph then beat two more challenges to be one on one with the keeper and not fazed he chipped into the goal. The City supporters were in raptures after seeing young Athan’s fantastic effort. After the shock of going two goals down early in the game Tadley regrouped and they started having a bit more of the play, creating a great chance from a cross from the right hand side where Tadley’s striker rose unopposed but failed to make significant connection. However Guildford were still creating chances and were content to go in at half time 2 -0 up.
The second half started more positively for Tadley as they looked to try and get back in the game. But still City looked lively going forward and in the 52nd minute Smith-Joseph received the ball inside the box with his back to goal. Under pressure from three defenders Smith-Joseph managed to find a small gap to give Dan Stewart the chance to run onto the ball unopposed and to make it 3-0.
On the hour mark City manager Donovan replaced goalscorer Dan Stewart and Myles Jones who had worked extremely hard in midfield, replacing them with the young duo of Kiyanu Pillay and Rory Cornelius. As the game progressed Guildford came under increasing pressure from the home side and due to a defensive error Tadley scored to make it 3 – 1. As so often happens with that goal the game totally changed and Calleva had their tails up and started to pressure the City defence. To the delight of the home crowd the pressure told and the home side scored into the bottom right corner of the goal to make it 3 – 2 with over 15 minutes to go. At this point manager Chislett used his final substitution to bring on defender Alex McWilliam for Anthony Baker who had caused problems for Tadley all afternoon. This shoring up of the defence helped Guildford survive the final 15 minutes plus injury time and despite a few nervy moments Guildford held on for the victory.
City’s win means that they are away in the next round to former Southern League rivals Thatcham Town. City’s victory delighted the travelling supporters from Guildford who again were present in good number and whose singing helped the team to victory.
Team: Stuart Searle, Andy Ottley, Connor Hall, Matt York, Tadej Venta, Josh Drew, James Ryan, Myles Jones (Rory Cornelius 66), Anthony Baker (Alex McWilliam 72), Dan Stewart (Kiyanu Pillay 61), Athan Smith-Joseph. Unused subs: Liam Beach, Harri Findlay.
Referee: Harry Moore
Attendance – 110