Walton & Hersham (0) 0, Guildford City (1) 3
by Barry Underwood
After 80 years at Stompond Lane, this was Walton & Hersham’s first match at the new Elmbridge Xcel stadium that they will share with Walton Casuals. A large crowd had assembled including local councillors and invited guests. The disappointment for the home side was that another guest – Guildford City FC – who had also been invited to the gathering acted as party poopers, winning 3-0 with a quite splendid performance. The Swans prior to kick-off were sitting in second place, having scored 19 goals in their last four matches. The task was quite daunting but the young City side took the bull by the horns, defending in a disciplined style, counter-attacking impressively and riding their luck when necessary. City made the perfect start by going ahead after just four minutes. A teasing low cross from Jordan Gallagher was met at full stretch by Kieran Campbell who netted from close range. On a fast 3G pitch the match was played at quite a pace, and the Swans lively Cameron Gyeabour and TJ Nkoma were a constant threat to the City defence. The home side dominated territorially and in truth were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. But Guildford were always a danger on the counter-attack. Darryl Siaw shot over the bar following a Miguel Anderson run, and from Chris Tancock’s low cross Dan Stewart’s close range effort was saved by Brendan Norris. As City grew in confidence they enjoyed more possession themselves, and the game ebbed and flowed back and forth at quite a rate. Jordan Gallagher fired a 30 yard effort just over the bar, whilst at the other end Miguel Anderson cleared a powerful header off his own goal line. Gallagher had another effort which Norris saved comfortably, whilst Gyeabour shot wide from a good position for the home side. In the last minute before the break TJ Nkoma broke into space and blazed a powerful shot over the bar from an angle.
The Swans dominated play for the first ten minutes of the second-half in an attempt to draw level. But City stood firm, and on 57 minutes Guildford scored a second goal. A free-kick some 30 yards from goal was laid off to Kieran Campbell whose shot thumped against the upright. The rebound fell into the middle of the goalmouth and Jordan Gallagher was on hand to side foot home for his first goal for the club. The Swans now had to push forward in earnest which left gaps at the back that City could exploit. Tom Booth burst out of defence with the ball at his feet and found Jordan Gallagher with a great pass. Gallagher’s low ball into the box just eluded the predatory Kieran Campbell. Ex-City midfielder Sanchez Benali entered the fray from the bench for the Swans and from his cross Gyeabour glanced a header wide. The speedy Nathaniel Williams, revelling in the space, found Darryl Siaw with a great crossfield pass. Siaw cut in on goal from the left and fired a shot towards goal that Norris saved, but he was alert enough to shoot home the rebound, giving the visitors a three goal lead. As the game went into a lengthy period of stoppage time the Swans hit the outside of the post, whilst at the other end a Nathaniel Williams fast break led to Jordan Gallagher having a one on one opportunity in front of goal, but on this occasion Norris was equal to the task, making a fine save. An excellent all-round performance from Guildford that sees them rise to third position in the league table.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Tom Booth, Luke Beale (David Burton 69), Nemo Adams, Dan Stewart (Nathaniel Williams 77), Darryl Siaw, Miguel Anderson (Louie Downey 53), Kieran Campbell, Jordan Gallagher, Robbie Mundow. Unused subs: Sam Marks, Kyen Nicholas.
Referee: Gareth Mays