GUILDFORD excelled themselves in this game, turning in a virtuoso performance to knock high flying North Greenford United out of the league cup. Indeed after a slow start, City well and truly hammered opponents who had humbled them 5-1 in the previous league game. Harrison Carnegie was the star of the show, feeding off the skill of new signing Dan Moody and showing impressive composure to notch his hat trick. Jamie King and Moody completed the rout which sees Guildford progress to the quarter finals.
With the postponement of the previous game, this match had all the hallmarks of a two-legged Champions League match (ok I may be exaggerating a bit here – there were only about 50 of us and no millionaires on the pitch). North Greenford must have been expecting an easy passage to the next round, although their lineup was reasonably strong with the impressive Dave Lawrence starting and his equally deadly strike partner Ricky Pither ready to add firepower from the bench. The home side had a few new faces in their ranks – Adam Peck deputising for the suspended Antony Hall, James Brown adding some much needed quality in midfield and Dan Moody partnering Carnegie in attack.
As mentioned North Greenford started the game the stronger and really should have scored in the opening fifteen minutes. First an excellent slide-rule pass from near the byline was missed by the unmarked player at the far post and then ten minutes or so later a forward beat the offside trap but fired just wide of the target with the goalkeeper stranded. Slowly but surely though, Guildford found their feet and began to really stretch the visitors – not least through the pace and movement down the left wing. And it was from one such attack that City scored in the 20th minute. A hanging cross was dropped into the box and somehow bounced over a defender, allowing Carnegie to scramble the ball home. Suddenly it was all Guildford and they could have made it 2-0 two minutes later – a freekick being fired in from the edge of the centre circle and headed at goal but cleared off the line. A candidate for miss of the season followed – the product of another blistering run, the City player receiving the ball unmarked in the box but firing wide from barely 6 yards out!
The visitors seemed stunned but they did recover enough to win a corner in the 26th minute which was headed clear and prompted another Guildford attack without result. The home side got a deserved second goal some moments later however, a superb corner seeming to be laser-guided onto the head of Jamie King: as usual the Guildford midfielder made no mistake, heading into the back of the net. With the bit between their teeth, City did not cede the initiative for the rest of the half, stretching their opponents and winning three corners. They got their just desserts just before halftime – Carnegie side-footing home easily at the far post after a brilliant cross from Danny Elgar.
The home side started the second half with continued purpose – they clearly knew from bitter experience how easily a 3 goal lead could be reduced to nothing. The first fifteen minutes saw some invention by both sides but without anything really clear cut. Sure enough however it was Guildford that got the scoreboard ticking over once more. Again Moody was at the heart of the move, shredding his markers down the wing with his blistering pace before crossing into the box. Carnegie benefited from some fortune as the ball pinged off a defender but he took his chance and fired the ball home to complete his hat trick.
The visitors were now on damage limitation mode – oh how well we know that feeling as City fans – and did some hasty substitutions to try and inject some confidence back into their side. It was Guildford though who looked dangerous on every attack and it seemed inevitable that more goals would follow. Carnegie was finding space behind the back four with startling regularity and nearly caused a defender to score an own goal in the 66th minute – his shot cannoning off the player and behind for a corner. The fifth goal followed immediately – Dan Moody deservedly getting his name on the scoresheet after rising unmarked to head the set piece home.
There was still plenty of the match to go but with the game won (even Mr Pegman was saying that the game would ‘probably’ not go into extra time now) Kev Rayner must have decided to save his side’s energy for Saturday. There was certainly a change in the balance of play in the final 20 minutes and North Greenford were unlucky not to get at least one consolation goal. Their best chances came in the final ten minutes – a superb strike being just pushed over the bar by Peck and a few minutes later a freekick being punched clear. Little remained but to run the clock down and the ref blew for fulltime on the stroke of 90 minutes.
GUILDFORD CITY: Adam Peck; T. Tydeman (T. Arnold, 62); T. Penson; S. Cooper; J. Thoroughgood; J. King; James Brown (L. Bradnick, 86); B. Rayner; Dan Moody; H. Carnegie (A. Ducran, 88); D. Elgar
Subs not used: J. Turner; C. Knight
NORTH GREENFORD UTD: J. Warrington; S. Hillier; J. Lisi; J. Diston; C. Meddes;; M. Murray; J. Sparrowhawk; N. Salapatas (R. Pither, 65); R. Pinto (K. McNamara, 65); D. Lawrence; L. Kenny
Subs not used:
Booked: J. Warrington
Referee: A. Connor