Cranleigh 2 v 2 Guildford United
The last game of the season saw GUFC head to Cranleigh, a difficult fixture with much riding on the game. Guildford sat in first place at the start of the day, knowing that Lyne have two remaining fixtures. The boys needed to place as much pressure on the chasers as possible.
Guildford lined up with no Carpo, Foxy and Trinder, which meant starts for new-boy Lewis and a final United appearance for Vin, who is looking to retire from the club at the end of the season.
United began the game by playing off of the top with Vinnie winning all of the aerial battles that came his way. Despite the pitch being playable, much of the ball was being played front-to-back in the opening exchanges. Guildford had the best of the early chances, with Jenko being squared the ball and his volley being well saved by the young Cranleigh keeper. The opposition began to grow into the game and managed to catch GUFC on the break, but no real efforts testing Malice.
Vinnie had the best chance of the half for Guildford, as he was played through from the half-way line and bared down on goal, leaving him one-on-one with the keeper, but a bobble on the pitch caused an awkward reaction finish, that cannoned against the post and out to safety.
Despite being the better team in the opening 30, it was Cranleigh who took the lead from a simple long throw-in that was flicked on at the front post, and then flicked in by the Cranleigh midfielder. A tough break for GUFC, but a huge wake-up call.
Guildford began working their way back into the game, but struggled to break down the Cranleigh defence, and the keeper wasn’t truly tested.
The second-half began with Cranleigh pushing forward, with the long ball causing problems. A few half-chances as the ball was flicked over the top but nothing too worrying given the circumstances. Guildford began to take control and eventually drew level, with some fine work from Greg, squaring the ball into Knappers who took a touch and smashed it home on the volley.
Within the middle periods of the second-half the match became scrappy with many cheap fouls and injuries occurring for both sides. Cranleigh having multiple dangerous free-kicks but all well dealt with from the Doots backline.
Cranleigh managed to pull in front with 20 minutes remaining, from a basic long-ball which sailed over the Guildford centre-backs and the Blues’ skipper managed to finish in a one-on-one situation. Difficult to take with minutes remaining.
GUFC rang the changes by bringing on LT and Ketch, both who’ve seen relatively little football for their respective reasons and decided to push further forward. Despite some poor mental decisions, Guildford pushed further on and Ketch had a great chance to pull level when he was blocked from point blank range on a couple of occasions.
It was Ketch who managed to win a penalty with minutes remaining as his effort was deemed to be block with the Cranleigh defender’s hand. Vinnie, on his final appearance and slotted from 12 yards. As Guildford searched for a winner, Ketch won a free-kick with barely no time remaining. The ball was floated in and in a scramble, it fell to Ketch, but the final whistle was blown in extremely controversial circumstances.
Whilst the title race goes down to the final weekend, Lyne only need to draw to win the league. Only time will tell.