GUILDFORD allowed more points to pass them by in this disappointing encounter with the impressive Raynes Park Vale. Whilst City struggled at times to deal with Vale’s pacey forwards, they forged more than their share of chances. They only converted one however – Tom Penson firing home after Dave Ellard had scored for the visitors. More chances followed but inevitably, given their recent luck, City gave away a penalty – Stefan Phillips converting from the spot. Guildford now face a tricky visit to Chertsey on Saturday on the back of two straight defeats – it will be a daunting task.
This was yet another low key match, partly because the tannoy was out of action for most of the game and partly due to another small attendance – just 45 people braving what was in all fairness a fairly miserable evening, weather-wise. We certainly were glad of the stand when the rain started to bucket it down half way through the first half!! Football-wise we were expecting a tough match against a side which had beaten North Greenford 3-0 away from home at the weekend – and so it proved.
Guildford started well – forcing a corner in the opening minutes which they were unable to capitalise on. However we very quickly saw just how dangerous the Vale could be as they mounted a number of quick counter-attacks which stretched the City defence to the limit. Lance did forge the first decent chance in the 17th minute however – getting behind his marker and running through on goal with Paul Brady, the Vale shot-stopper advancing to meet him. Thinking quickly he tried to lob the ball over the keeper but it went well wide. Minutes later the home side had another corner, the ball eventually falling to Ben Rayner who drove his shot well wide. The visitors had a good chance of their own in the 23rd minute however, a freekick some 25 yards out causing mayhem in the Guildford penalty area before the ball was cleared to Lance who again went through on goal before being dispossessed by a superbly timed challenge from a Raynes Park defender.
The pattern of attack and counter-attack continued and both sides had good chances to go ahead around the half hour mark. First Vale left back Eric Karikari tried an audacious lob from a freekick – the ball being hooked just over the bar. Then it was Guildford’s turn, a corner being delivered low to the far post and headed wide when it seemed easier to score! The game continued to be open with Guildford pushing forward and winning a freekick on the edge of the box which was delivered along the ground as a daisy-cutter. Raynes Park cleared their lines and then counter-attacked, the City defenders doing well to hoof the ball to safety. Still the chances came, and Guildford were rightfully aggrieved in the 38th minute when Lance appeared to be upended in the penalty area but no penalty (or freekick, for that matter) was given, much to the disgust of the home fans and bench alike. The half concluded with chances for both sides – Antony Hall spilling the ball from a corner in the 45th minute and then gathering at the second attempt just in time and then a City freekick dropped cleverly into the path of three onrushing players – none could slide in, in time before Brady got to it however.
There was little to do at halftime but get a beer and hope the standard of the play got better. One man appeared to be enjoying himself at least – a ground-hopper who normally supported Stokesley FC of Northern League division 2. He had astonishingly spent the last week on a tour of England watching games every day as far afield as Liverpool and Cornwall. He assured me that this was not the worst game of football he had seen but that he probably would consider heading back up to Teesside the next day! Chris of course made sure our “Smoggy” visitor had a badge and Eddie that he had a beer, so everyone was happy.
The visitors started the second half strongly, winning a corner in the 48th minute and generally pressurising City with their pacey counter attacks. It was no surprise that they finally got their reward in the 53rd minute – a pinpoint cross finding the head of Dave Ellard who applied the slightest of flicks to send the ball into the back of the net. Kevin decided this was a good time to shuffle his pack and he took off the yellow carded Tommy Tydeman and replaced him with Tony Arnold. Minutes later Harrison Carnegie, who had had a quiet match up until now, suddenly found himself in some space, he jinked and weaved past his markers and looked to have an excellent chance of scoring from some 10 yards out. Unfortunately his touch deserted him at the last minute and his shot went horribly wide – much to our frustration. The tempo did not let up for a second and on the hour mark, Guildford had another reason to be furious with the referee after Ben Rayner was pushed in the face and squared up to his opponent. Tommy Tydeman had been sent off for just such an offence on Saturday but the referee brandished a yellow card and booked both players.
The annoyance was dissipated some six minutes later however when City levelled the scores – the ball being delivered into the box and ping-ponging around before Tom Penson finally applied enough to force it over the line. Suddenly Guildford were looking the more dangerous side and when Lance tore down the right wing and cut inside to go through on goal we thought our chance to go 2-1 ahead had arrived. Unfortunately Lance’s shot lacked power and was eventually cleared by a defender. Raynes Park started to come back into contention and Jamie King was forced into a rash challenge to prevent one of their pacey wingers going through on goal in the 73rd minute. Chances were at a premium however and we were starting to believe City could halt their disappointing run and salvage a point when a Vale player appeared to be upended in the box and the ref pointed to the penalty spot. Stefan Phillips stepped up and fired his shot to Hall’s right – the City keeper guessing correctly but not quite keeping it out.
There was still time to get something from this game and City upped their tempo once more: Terry Lineker, making his debut, pulling off an impressive flick to put Adesina through down the right wing. Gabby’s cross was well directed but Harrison could not quite get his head to it. For all their endeavour though, Guildford just could not create the killer chance – a long range effort from Ben Rayner two minutes from time being the final opportunity of the match.
GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; T. Tydeman (T. Arnold, 58); C. Knight; T. Penson; J. Thoroughgood; J. King; G. Adesina; B. Rayner (Terry Lineker, 81); S. Rivers; H. Carnegie; L. Banton-Brown (Danny Elgar, 78)
Subs not used: J. Turner; A. Bridgeman
Booked: T. Tydeman; J. King; B. Rayner
RAYNES PARK VALE: P. Brady; E. Taylor; E. Karikari; (M. Jordan); D. Stevens; A. Rixon-Nichols; E. Sempa; S. Phillips; E. Thompson; D. Ellard; M. Accardi (D. Grobler, 85); R. Harmeston
Subs not used: None
Booked: D. Ellard; M. Jordan
Referee: R. Hailstone