City were unlucky to lose this one, having the lion’s share of possession and more chances on goal. They were undone by a well organised Wembley side who were quick on the break and were able to benefit from some uncharacteristic lapses in the Guildford defence.
The match started at a high tempo with the visitors notching their first attempt on goal in the 5th minute, heading over from a dangerous cross into the City penalty area. At the other end the home side were moving the ball around well in spells but were unable to make any breakthrough. This early deadlock was broken within ten minutes by a moment of total misunderstanding between City’s defence and keeper. The ball was put through by Wembley and appeared to be rolling safely to Jay in the Guildford goal, however he appeared to believe his defenders were dealing with it leaving the ball loose near the edge of the penalty area. In this split second, Wembely’s no 9, Bevis, had seen his chance and poked the ball past the stranded Gindre. 1-0 and not a moment City’s goalie and defence will want to remember in a hurry.
The home side did not let the mistake bother them however and set about getting back into the match with real vigour. The ball was being moved around extremely well and chances started to come. In the 18th minute, after some wonderful one touch passing, Scott Cannie curled a shot just wide of the post from outside the area. Five minutes later it was Warren Coborne’s turn, putting a powerful header just wide from an excellent cross. Two more chances to score presented themselves to the home side in as many minutes but they were unable to convert either – it seemed luck just wasn’t on their side. While Guildford were having the lion’s share of chances, it was Wembley who could and should have made it 2-0 in the 31st minute. Another moment of hesitation from the City goalie allowed Bevis to round the keeper and shoot at an open goal. Thankfully for the home side he was at the byline by this point and was only able to flash the ball across the face of goal.
With this let-off firmly in their minds, City resumed their fruitless search for a goal. It should have come in the 36th minute. Rob Parrott (who was to finish the match with a Butcher-esque bandage round his head) was put through on goal and with only the keeper to beat shot straight at him. The home side had two more chances to even the scores before half time, heading over from a freekick in the 38th minute and nearly being the beneficiaries of a Wembley own goal in the 41st minute when the defender put the ball just over his own crossbar from a dangerous City cross. At the back Guildford’s defence was recovering from its early lapse with Andy Wylde putting in a particularly effective and hard-working display.
The halftime whistle was blown and there was time for the City fans to reflect on a hard-working performance from their side which just hadn’t quite delivered the goods. They amused themselves however with a variety of new songs, for instance ‘when the beans come out the tin’ (about making beans on toast… no I don’t understand the relevance either!) and ‘we’re red and white like the Mackems’ (a song aimed to wind up Guildford’s long suffering Geordie, Chris). The Wembley keeper appeared to be wearing a slightly strange pair of green leggings, prompting the chant ‘is your keeper wearing tights?!’.
Meanwhile I was getting to grips with my latest purchase off ebay – a ‘Swiss made’ (allegedly) stopwatch – you can therefore be assured that all the time checks in this article are 100% accurate! Anyway, back to the football… The whistle blew for the 2nd half and within 5 minutes City had scored the goal their hard work deserved. Scott Cannie, putting in a typically commanding performance in midfield rose like a salmon to head the ball into the path of Dean Peltohaka whose shot on goal in turn rebounded to Sam Pothecary. The ‘medicine man’ then expertly drilled the ball through the congested penalty box and into the back of the net. Guildford now had the bit between their teeth and proceded to push for the winning goal. Several efforts followed in the next 10 minutes with the pick being a wonderful 30 yard drive from Scott Cannie in the 55th minute which the Wembley keeper just managed to tip over the bar.
Slowly but surely however, Wembley started to edge their way back into the game. In the 64th minute they nearly scored a sensational goal when one of their players went on a solo run from the halfway line and was only prevented from scoring by an equally impressive save by Jay Gindre. Eleven minutes later the Guildford keeper again had to be on his toes, saving smartly a snapshot from the edge of the area. Back came the home side and in surely the move of the match, Reece White (having another excellent game to chants of ‘Reece White – Dynamite’ from the crowd!) hit a superb, defence splitting, cross field pass to Lee Allum down the left. Allum beat the defender, ran into the box but was only able to hit his shot straight at the keeper who parried it to safety. The tension on the pitch was starting to spill over – Lee O’Donnell and Wembley’s no 9 (Bevis) were booked for a ‘handbags’ style scuffle in the 78th minute and two minutes later Lloyd Wye saw yellow for a late challenge on a Wembley player.
It seemed to be inevitable that the score would not be level at the end of the game and so it proved. Wembley seemed to find an extra gear in the final ten minutes and put real pressure on the City defence. In the 81st minute they had the ball in the back of the net only for it to be ruled out for offside and then with a minute of normal time to go, they scored for real. Their sub Richeford was put through on goal, beat Gindre and finished from close range.
GUILDFORD CITY: J. Gindre; R. Parrott; A. Wylde; L. O’Donnell; B. McCoy (sub L. Wye, 70mins); S. Cannie; S. Steele; R. White; W. Coborne (sub M. Mercer 80); D. Peltohaka; L. Allum.
Subs not used: A. Azeem