By Tempest Ward
6 October
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First half goals lift Sarnies to 8th

Jay O’Connell (4), Anthony Thomas (34)

Egham Town moved up to 8th place in the CCL Premier table after as comfortable and untroubled a win as they could have wished for at Guildford City’s Spectrum home. The winning margin could, and almost certainly should, have been wider but a win and a clean sheet are not to be sneezed at.
Tony Choules was forced to make changes after the rough and tumble of the 4-4 midweek draw at Southall’s adopted home of Ashford Town (Mx.). Midfielder Zaine Gangadeen will be out for a while after the unpunished clattering he received early on in that game. He has small tear in his left anterior cruciate ligament. Also missing was goalkeeper Triston Thomas, who was another Sarnie to take a battering. Choules was able to sign the experienced Uxbridge defender Andrew Whorms and call upon Lee Wyatt to take over in goal. Wyatt had a much quieter time than in his debut, at home to Banstead Athletic.
Form was certainly on Egham’s side. Unbeaten in the league since the new management took over they have been scoring goals fairly freely, and are equal third in the divisional’s GF column. That they are still -1 is a relic of the 1-6 home capitulation against Balham in Carl Palmer’s final game as boss. The opposite is true for City, who had scored 4 and only let in 5 before this match, a stat helped by having three consecutive goalless draws. (That will bring the crowds flocking in!) However, with wins at Sutton Common Rovers and Banstead Athletic in their last two fixtures they would have been confident of a decent result.
It took Egham only three minutes to make the breakthrough. Kiemon Robinson swung in a corner to the back post, Ben Peden headed the ball down and Jay O’Connell was able to force the ball over the line from close range. Two minutes later Anthony Thomas spotted a gap in the home defence and broke through before firing against Zack Basey’s bar. In the 8th minute Robinson took another corner kick, Peden met it with his head but sent his attempt wide. The next chance Egham had in a dominant period fell to Thomas, latching onto an Adam Humphries’ lobbed pass, but Thomas sent the ball over. It took until 30 minutes for City to register a shot, Kieran Campbell shooting over. When Egham did score again it was no more than they merited. Guildford had a corner, Humphries cleared to O’Connell and he passed the ball on to Thomas in the centre circle. Thomas ran on, facing Basey in a one-on-one and rolled in a shot that trundled over the line, taking his tally to 12. Prince Mbengui, who opened his account in the Southall game, saw his shot blocked late on in a half that ended with Humphries’ perfectly executed tackle on Billy Irving as he threatened. It led to a corner that saw a scramble on the Egham line, which was the closest Wyatt came to being beaten.
The Egham keeper had to hold Wayne Rideley’s 70th minute shot, which was the first notable incident of a second period that perhaps qualifies as the dullest half of the season. Thomas had been replaced by Craige Tomkins, who battered the bar with a thunderous shot in the 87th minute, off a Robinson pass. I don’t know if I was imagining it but the pace of play seemed decidedly pedestrian to that point; perhaps it was the different perspective from the stand and the distance from the pitch because of the running track. Amin Belaid came off the bench for O’Connell and fired in a free kick that Basey could only push away. Dan Stewart wasted the best chance City had had all match, blazing over the bar. Perhaps it was the home side’s frustration that led to them reacting in a ridiculous manner, en masse, when Whorms complained about a late foul.
Egham Town face Hellenic Premier opposition next week in the Buildbase FA Vase First Round when Binfield make their first ever trip to Runnymede Stadium on Saturday. Before the next home league game (Cobham, 26 October) Egham go to Raynes Park Vale (19th) and Sheerwater (Surrey Senior Cup, Wednesday 23rd).
EGHAM TOWN: Lee Wyatt, Andrew Whorms, Justin Thompson, Ben Peden, Tristan Toney (Captain), Luke Maguire, Jay O’Connell, Prince Mbengui, Anthony Thomas, Adam Humphries, Kiemon Robinson. Substitutes: Craige Tomkins (Thomas, 69), Kildane Tesfu, Jake Sobolak, Amin Belaid (O’Connell, 78), Costa Rodrigues.

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