Guildford United 2 v 0 Keens Park Rangers
Last week saw Guildford secure their place in the 3rd round of the County Cup, but this weekend, they were back to league action against Keens Park Rangers. KPR had been in formidable form going into this weekend, and despite the Doots being at home, they knew this wouldn’t be an easy afternoon by any means.
Both Ketch and Mike Ryan came back into the starting XI, with Jon dropping to the bench despite impressing consistently this season, and Vinnie dropping out of the squad altogether.
GUFC kicked things off by controlling the tempo, which is hasn’t been the case every Saturday for the lads, and looked confident. However, despite some confidence on the ball, Guildford struggled to play the killer ball through to the final third. The first real chance of the afternoon fell to Bickers who was causing the defence a host of problems in the early stages, he escaped the back four and in a one-on-one opportunity, was denied by the outspread KPR keeper.
Despite Guildford looking comfortable, some complacency set in, and Keens Park began to play themselves into the game. They looked dangerous down both flanks with high quality players who could really drive at the Guildford back three. Twice in relatively quick succession Mal was called into action with speculative efforts that looked destined for the top corners. Both occasions, Mal clawed away, and Guildford managed to deal with the issue.
United dealt with the ten-minute spell, and managed to regain the upper-hand. Creating chances through Carpo, who shifted the ball onto his right foot within the box, and pushed it away from two defenders but his cross-body shot drifted just wide of the post. Jenko had an opportunity from a delayed run into the box but his first-time attempt wasn’t struck cleanly as it missed the target.
GUFC began the second half much how the first ended, but perhaps with even more control. The Doots have found themselves to be more of a second half team, really managed to up the tempo and up the pressure on KPR. It wasn’t long before Bickers escaped once again but the keeper was equal to with a body-save.
Guildford escaped down the left and Bickers, with some trickery in the box, took it away from the defender and with his back to goal was body-checked strongly in an illegal fashion. The referee pointed to the spot as KPR protested. Carpo, who missed his first Guildford penalty last weekend, stepped up to slot the ball home. Carpo showing fantastic mental strength in the process.
Guildford were now becoming dominant and almost made it two, when Carpo’s volleyed effort cannoned off the goalkeeper’s body, who was a strong performer all afternoon for the opposition. However, the lads weren’t kept out for much longer, as some quick counter-attacking play, once again down the left side, saw Carpo escape and cut the ball back to Bickers. Bickers was wiped out on the edge of the box and Guildford awarded their second penalty of the afternoon. Up steps Carpo, and he’s bagged his second for the day.
With 25 minutes remaining and a two-goal lead, Guildford kept their cool and managed the game superbly. Keens Park had a couple of attempts from corner kicks but none of them testing Mal. As minutes died out, Mal was called into question for one last time as the KPR captain cut in from the left and struck the ball finely, but Mal was privy to the attempt as he tipped it wide.
A thoroughly professional home performance from the boys against a very good side, and perhaps more satisfyingly, a second consecutive clean sheet.