CITY were extremely unlucky to lose this one after dominating play for significant periods and creating some decent chances. As it was Badshot Lea unjustly claimed all three points after nudging the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble, early in the second half. Guildford will hope their terrible luck will change for the better against fellow strugglers Colliers Wood on Saturday.
This was a nice and easy match for most people to get to – even for Matt who actually seemed to have a shorter journey from Southampton than we did from Guildford. After sampling the excellent Farnborough FC clubhouse and munching on a cheeseburger and chips, the Sweeney made their way into the stands and started to generate some noise in the (for the CCL) enormous stadium.
Badshot Lea away was never going to be an simple game and for the first 10 minutes the hosts had the better of the play as they moved the ball around smoothly on the excellent playing surface. After wasting a corner in the 4th minute, the home side registered their first attempt a minute later – the ball being headed into the mitts of Burnett after a good cross. In the 9th minute Burnett did extremely well to turn a powerful shot round the post – the resulting corner being easily plucked to safety. Guildford responded and for the next 5 minutes Carnegie gave the home side a torrid time, beating his marker again and again and firing three dangerous crosses into the penalty area. The ball was never cleared properly but Guildford just could not deliver the killer pass to release one of the forwards and the period of pressure ended with Ben Rayner shooting wide of the post.
The home side recovered and really should have scored in the 18th minute – the impressive Darren Blake being put through but firing weakly across the goal. The two sides then traded blows with neither side forging anything conclusive – a Guildford freekick delivered by Turner in the 20th minute was headed on but then punched clear by the Badshot Lea custodian whilst at the other end Burnett pulled off an impressive diving save but the flag was already up for offside. It was the visitors who registered the next good chance – Carnegie once again roaming down the right wing, winning a throw-in and then, after receiving the ball, drawing a superb save after turning and shooting from the edge of the box.
Guildford were starting to build momentum with the defence looking more and more solid thanks to some excellent work from Thoroughgood and Chaplin. Penson too was showing his commitment, although a late timed tackle earned him a yellow card in the 33rd minute. On the wing Anthony Bridgeman was finally showing what he could do and combined with Jack Turner and Harrison Carnegie’s work on the right, City were starting to look reassuringly dangerous. Unfortunately the visitors were forced to take ‘Bridge’ off shortly before half time after he pulled up with a hamstring strain – Keno Tracey providing an able replacement. The half ended with some exciting attacking football – Guildford first winning a freekick on the edge of the Badshot box but losing possession. A counter-attack then ensued, Connor Hamilton shooting well wide of the mark. At the other end some great passing between King, Adesina and Tracey resulted in a shot on goal which was spilled – the ball just being cleared before Adesina could get to it. Peters then rounded things off by pulling a shot wide.
Half time was spent quaffing beer in the excellent executive box which served as the Badshot Lea committee rooms and desperately trying to think of some songs for the new players. As usual it was the Lennon and McCartney of the football chant world, Matt Howell, who came up with: (to the Kings of Leon tune) “Yeaaaaah! Dan Burnett’s on fire’; and “Defreitas – oooo-ay-oh, Defreitas – oooo-ay-oh, he’s the King of Rock and Roll, he’s gonna score a goal!’ As with the last time we were at Cherrywood Road, it was extremely difficult to leave the bar but we all managed it with the exception of Lofty who didn’t re-emerge for the whole of the 2nd half!!
The game re-started and with it came Guildford’s most sustained period of pressure and arguably their best chance of getting the all important first goal. In the 47th minute Adesina, received the ball on the edge of the box and laid it off for Tracey whose shot was blocked before Rayner once again shot wide. The home side then couldn’t clear their lines as City probed away on the edge of the box. Time and again though, they found themselves starved of space and with no-one to pass to. They almost paid the price in the 50th minute after a counter-attack allowed Peters another chance to score, his shot flying just over the bar, but again they roamed up-field, Thoroughgood almost capitalising on a sliced clearance but heading wide.
The period of dominance ended however as Badshot Lea once again got back into the game and inevitably they scored in the 57th minute. A throw in level with the City penalty area was launched into the box, causing confusion and a goalmouth scramble. Guildford just could not clear the ball and Matt Griffiths eventually got enough on it to nudge it over the line. Heads dropped and it was now all Badshot Lea as they poured forward. Midfielder Darren Blake started to cause particular problems as he tore down the right wing hitting two shots which rebounded and then winning a freekick and a corner – all of which City were able to keep out. It took until the 76th minute for Guildford to recover – a freekick being won near the byline and whipped superbly into the box – yet again though Thoroughgood’s header went wide. Slowly but surely the balance of play tipped towards City again – Defreitas going on an incredible run from his own half in the 80th minute and getting to the edge of box before passing to Tracey whose cross was easily claimed by the keeper. Minutes later Carnegie forged two good chances, twice turning and shooting in the box but seeing his shots held or fly over the bar. The minutes ticked down and Guildford threw everything at their opponents – winning and wasting freekicks and crosses. The best chance came in the final minute of stoppage time – Carnegie once again hitting a powerful shot but it was just blocked and cleared before the whistle blew for full time.
BADSHOT LEA: M. Watson; D. Griffiths; P. Andrews; B. McCoy; M. Kleboe; C. Hamilton; D. Blake; R. Westall (A. Prentice, 63); M. Peters (J. Hinchin, 79); M. Griffiths; B. Hill (J. Sowden, 87)
Subs not used: N. Sowden; D. Chislett;
Booked: M. Peters
GUILDFORD CITY: D. Burnett; T. Chaplin (L. Bradnick, 70); C. Knight; T. Penson; J. Thoroughgood; J. King; J. Turner (E. Defreitas, 65); B. Rayner; G. Adesina; H. Carnegie; A. Bridgeman (K. Tracey, 39)
Subs not used: L. Hirrel; P. Gough
Booked: T. Penson
Referee: A. Morley