Guildford United 5 v 2 HershamIn the final game of 2019, Guildford faced off against Hersham in the County Cup third round. Hersham had already visited Kings College earlier in the season, a match that saw Guildford run out comfortable winners against a strong side.
With Carpo suspended, Leigh Jennings took the place of the marksman as he partnered Bickers up front. Whilst Mike Ryan returned to the back three, as Reece returned to the starting XI after Ketch’s groin injury kept him out of action until 2020.
On a cold December afternoon, Guildford began sharply by controlling the majority of possession and looking dangerous in attack. Although sometimes the final ball could be missing, GUFC looked to dominate in the opening minutes.
It wasn’t long before the Doots took the lead, after a sensational diagonal ball from LT found the on-running Tids who was causing havoc down Hersham’s left-side. He crossed the ball along the six yard box, and it was buried by Bicknell.
United soon doubled their lead when another swaith of Guildford attacks saw the pressure mount, and prove too much for Hersham. After an attempt was saved by the keeper, Greg managed to touch the ball into the path of Jenko who smacked the ball home first-time.
The attack-minded Guildford continued to press on and go searching for their third in the middle of the first-half. Reece found himself running at the defence, and launched a curling shot from 25 yards that, unfortunately, clipped the top of the bar and went over. Dean followed this up by hitting the bar himself. His right-footed powerful effort rocketed against the bar, and Hersham were somehow still in the game. GUFC could have, and should have been out of sight, but only took a two goal advantage into the half-time break.
United started the half sluggishly and perhaps too complacently, as they allowed Hersham to really build their confidence. The opposition switched to mirror Guildford’s formation, and began passing the ball around well as they grew into the game.
Despite Mal still not having to be called into action, Hersham were provided a great opportunity to pull one back as a through ball was reached by Mike to prevent the busy Hersham striker from latching on. His touch volleyed through to Mal, who picked the ball up in his hands. Despite this clearly not being intentional, the referee awarded an in-direct free-kick that was duly dispatched into the bottom left-hand corner.
Rocked by this, Hersham continued to push forward and cause problems at the back. Guildford were desperate to find their third goal and regain the two-goal advantage. Although, Guildford were under pressure, they managed to find this third through Greg. After the ball was squared to him in the box, his first attempt was saved onto the post, but he made no mistake following up and powering home the rebound.
GUFC then all but finished the game off, as a long direct kick-from-hands courtesy of Mal, fell perfectly into the path of Bickers who squeezed between the centre-back and right-back, and finished into the bottom corner.
With twenty minutes remaining however, frustratingly, Hersham bagged their second after some poor defensive shape allowed Hersham to walk through the middle, play the ball out to the right wing and then cross for an easy finish from the striker. A disappointing way to concede, despite the result looking confirmed.
However, Guildford managed to bag their fifth and final goal with minutes remaining. Substitute Charlie, received the ball after some fine work on the byline from Bickers, and Charlie made no mistake of blasting the ball into the roof of the net. The youngster looking to stake a claim during Carpo’s suspension.
An excellent result to finish 2019, but perhaps not Guildford’s finest 90 minutes. Nonetheless, GUFC march on to the quarter final, where the University of Surrey await.