With Windsor fielding a stronger and younger team than usual this was always going to be a hard match. Fortunately, the Gondoliers were spurred on by an impressive line of supporters including Mike Regan, Terry Faithfull, Nigel Sturgess and Marcus Smith.
Windsor, playing four in midfield against our three (Haley and two alternating between Mullins, Basey and Gould), seemed to have most of the possession and the lion's share of the pressure. However, our numerically weaker midfield line up gave a good account of themselves contesting every ball and setting up some excellent attacks.
The key difference between the sides was that Guildford converted a good percentage of our chances (significantly better than last week when our conversion rate was about 4%) whilst Windsor were almost invariably thwarted.
Rosoman and Howells played some excellent one-twos leading to each of them scoring an early goal. Also, along with Carney, they intercepted some key passes and from one of these Howells set up Rosoman for his second. However, when Mullins ran half the pitch to catch a rather optimistic pass from Windsor-Lewis (he did catch it and created a good scoring chance) the result was that he needed to limp off injured and even on his return had to play at a "Carney" pace.
Windsor fought back with real determination and Guildford were often only saved by some vital interceptions, especially by Basey, Windsor-Lewis and Savage, and some fine saves by Raper. Windsor were particularly dangerous at penalty corners where their slick routine created several shots, some from only a few yards out. Tonks stopped one of these with his left knee and Windsor scored from the resulting penalty stroke.
However, Asdell and Gould showed how it should be done, each saving a shot on the line and then clearing it calmly to the wing. With Raper outstanding at marshalling the defence, the Windsor forwards and midfield never had time for an uncontested shot and as the game progressed Windsor-Lewis pressed further forward to support the midfield, occasionally to the extent that he was nearer the oppo goal than any of our forwards. He did receive some unjust criticism for this, but that was undoubtedly due to one or two forwards being jealous that they could not keep up with him!
Lastly this report would not be complete without thanking Andy Roberts for a fine display of umpiring and congratulating John Asdell for his impressive marking of Windsor's centre forward, whose unique way of holding a hockey stick made it almost impossible for anyone to tackle him - anyone that is except Asdell who repeatedly deprived him of the ball.
Gondoliers 3 (Rosoman 2, Howells) Windsor 1