WELL it was a long time coming but City finally got the win their recent performances deserved in this pulsating encounter. Not only did Guildford beat a side who were top of the league, they also inflicted on the Krooners, their first league defeat of the season. Apparently dead and buried at half time against a Camberley Town side who always looked dangerous from set pieces, City battled back to grab two quick goals at the start of the second half and then, thrillingly, the winning goal to bring jubilation (and hope) to the long suffering Sweeney fans.
The trauma of their team having lost 7 out of their last 8 matches, meant most City fans travelled in hope rather than expectation to this tie. That said, a certain Matt Brown, who had been impressed by Guildford’s performance against Bedfont in the week told me on Tuesday (and I quote!) “I think we’ll pull off an upset on Saturday”. Wow! Matt if you could do the same ‘crystal ball’ job for next week’s lottery numbers, I’ll be a very happy man! Unfortunately for Mr Brown, he overslept and missed the match of the season (still so did I – see below). A backs-to-the-wall draw seemed the best we could hope for, but still City fans travelled to Krooner Park in impressive numbers, determined to cheer on their team whatever the result. As is becoming a bit of a habit with me unfortunately, I was yet again absent from this game, as I was standing in a muddy field, helping to let off fireworks at the Bramley bonfire night. Much of this report therefore is cobbled together from first hand accounts of the lucky people who were there and some disgruntled Camberley fans who posted on the Fans Focus forum afterwards. Credit where credit’s due though, they were impressed with our win.
Guildford’s performance in the matches since Dave Tidy took over have belied their results – good attacking football, smooth passing and some impressive counter-attacking have meant City have seldom failed to score but have too often been caught out in the final 30 minutes of games. It was little surprise therefore that City began this game well, kicking up the slope and causing their hosts no end of problems. It was Camberley however who were to prove the more effective. In the 18th minute, having withstood some City attacks which were promising in build-up but poor in terms of the final ball, they notched their first. A Camberley player took a shot from the edge of the penalty area which was parried by player-manager, Mr Tidy but fell to Sills for an easy header into an open goal. The home side really started to come into the game now, although Guildford continued to make inroads, as the rain began to hammer down on players and supporters alike. Unfortunately the Krooners, now had their scoring boots on and made it 2-0 in the 38th minute, although to be fair, it was a strike of some quality. The ball fell to Johnson in a crowded penalty area and he clinically lifted the lift into the unguarded corner of the net. Guildford were not giving in, however, despite strikes being hard to come by, and they managed to prevent the home side notching any more goals before halftime.
For the City fans this game seemed to be another case of a good performance with no points to show for it and few of them believed Guildford could come back. Standing in the rain on a churned up, muddy field, a 2-0 halftime score line was not what I wanted to hear either. Still there were some rays of light, both Sir Lagerlot and Mr Pegman winning first and second prize in the raffle (a bottle of Scotch and a bottle of wine, which I’m sure they were glad of given the cold and wet conditions outside) and I got to drive a tractor! As the referee blew his whistle for the second half, Sir Lagerlot and his posse were still sitting inside the warm clubhouse drinking their beer, no doubt thinking there would be little to cheer about in the next 45 minutes.
How wrong they were though. Within minutes of the restart, Guildford notched their first and then what seemed like seconds later, their second goals to bring the scores level. The heroes of the hour were Joe Loyza and Matt Graves who popped in two goals in the first two minutes of the second half against a Camberley side who obviously believed a win was a formality. By all accounts Guildford could have made it 4 or even 5-2 during this purple spell at the start of the half. Suddenly the spectators had a game on their hands and despite the near flood-like conditions, the tempo of the game stepped up considerably. The home side started to press once more, but they were no longer defending a lead but seeking to re-establish it once more and Guildford began to find their chances a little easier to come by. Still, the visitors were lucky the Krooners’ finishing was not as good as it had been in the first half as they squandered two good chances and had a further one headed off the line. At the other end, meanwhile, Guildford nearly took the lead but the ball got stuck in the mud and caught up in a goalmouth scramble, before it could get to the unmarked Joe Loyza. No-one expected the score line to stay at 2-2 and with 15 minutes to go it was City who grabbed the winning strike – newcomer Matt Graves finishing brilliantly to send the Sweeney boys, in the shed at one end of the pitch onto Cloud 9!! Matt Howell has particularly vivid memories of Chris Pegman charging at him like a man possessed! Whilst Dan Griffiths got a hug off the aforementioned Geordie which caused him to spill the cups of Bovril and coffee he was carrying! Chris showing excitement? What is the world coming to!
The match was far from over, however, and Guildford set about defending their lead with an iron will. Goodness knows how many corners they defended in the final minutes of the game – Matt H suggests around 6 – and at one stage the ball had to be cleared off the line by a desperate City player. The frustration must have got to the Krooners as one of their players was given his marching orders in the last couple of minutes of the match for dissent. For the Guildford fans though, there was nothing but joy as the whistle blew for fulltime and the fans went crazy. The players were loving it too and engaged in a mudslide towards their happy supporters in celebration!! With three points finally won after lord knows how long, lets hope Guildford can kick on and secure their CCL Premier League status.