GUILDFORD exited this cup competition more with a whimper than a growl as high tempo Molesey made them pay for some lax defending. It was City who started the better, Dan Moody finishing clinically to put his side ahead with just over a minute on the clock. Moles midfield dynamo James McShane came into his own as the match wore on however scoring a screamer before skipper Joe Yeates headed home the simplest of chances to give the Moles the edge at the break. Guildford could not up their game in the second half and the match was ended as contest after McShane scored his second of the afternoon. Jack McLeod clawed one back near the end but it was too little too late.
This was City’s second mid-week home game in a row and the fifth home game in the last six matches!! It was a pity more people could not make it down but I guess the Southern Combination Cup, a fine competition though it is, is not quite on a par with the FA Cup or even the Premier Cup. Anyway those of us that were there at least had cause to cheer in the opening minutes of the game. The impressive Dan Moody beat the offside trap and latched onto an excellent defence splitting pass. With the Moles defence flat-footed he deftly chipped the ball over the advancing keeper and into the back of the net. Easy! We were rather rashly predicting another North Greenford match at this point. As if to underline this Moody went through on goal again but this time his shot was flashed wide of the post. The visitors woke up and tried an ambitious volleyed effort from long range before Jamie King tried but failed to get on the end of a well hit pass to the far post in the 11th minute.
Guildford continued to look dangerous for the next twenty minutes or so – a decent flicked header going inches wide before the Moles keeper, throwing caution to the wind, came for the ball and missed it – unfortunately there was no City player there to put it in the net. Molesey were starting to string some passes together however and were unlucky not to score in the 23rd minute after getting an extremely fortunate (lack of) offside decision from the linesman. The player would surely have scored but for an excellent tackle from one of the Guildford defenders. Moments later the Moles had another chance – a reverse pass out-foxing City’s rearguard but Adam Peck was alert to the threat and smothered the ball in time. Our relief was short-lived however as James McShane (no not Lovejoy) picked up the ball down the left wing, and drifted inside with the Guildford defence backing off him. With nothing else on he let fly with an unstoppable curling shot which beat Peck and nestled in the top corner. The City players blamed the wind afterwards but it looked a bit of screamer from where we were standing.
There was no need to panic obviously but no-one told the Guildford defence who seemed to switch off entirely at this point. Barely two minutes after the goal, Molesey had a freekick in a similar position to where McShane had let fly his thunderbolt. The ball was fired into the box, missed by every City defender and found the unmarked Yeates at the far post who applied the slightest of headers to nudge it over the line. To their credit Guildford upped their game but could not trouble their opponents from a corner a minute or so later. At the other end the visitors were winning a series of freekicks in dangerous areas but being unable to capitalise. The final chances of the half fell to the home side – a well struck corner travelling across the face of the goal but no-one could head it in. The Moles tried an unsuccessful foray into the City box whilst Moody fired wide from a McLeod lay-off before the half time whistle sounded.
The Moles’ first goal had been nice to look at but this was far from a ‘classic’ encounter and we were all rather hoping that the tie would be settled one way or the other in normal time. Kev brought on Harrison Carnegie as a statement of intent but even ‘H’s pace could not inject sufficient belief back into the Guildford attack. Even worse, Dan Moody picked up an injury in the 58th minute, charging down the pitch and being stopped by a superb last ditch tackle which left him on the floor. He struggled on but eventually had to be replaced by James Brown. City did have half a chance on the hour mark and who knows, if it had gone in the match may have gone in a different direction. They strung together an impressive passing move which culminated in a brilliant slide rule pass which if it has been connected with would have put the forward through on goal – as it was though the ball ended up in touch. Moments later the match was over as a contest – James ‘Lovejoy’ McShane once more finishing clinically.
The Moles sensed blood and could have easily scored one of two more over the remainder of the game. Twice City nearly conceded from goalmouth scrambles, the ball ping-ponging around the box and being extremely fortunately cleared. The home side did at least win a freekick in the 84th minute which Simon Cooper nearly scored from. A few minutes later they did score – Jack McLeod half volleying into the roof of the net from a corner. However the visitors had no intention of allowing the game to drift into extra time (thank goodness!) and effectively took the ball into the corner and generally ran the clock down for the remainder of the game.
GUILDFORD CITY: A. Peck; E. Defreitas; T. Arnold; S. Cooper; T. Penson; J. King; L. Bradnick (H. Carnegie, 57); B. Rayner; J. McLeod; D. Moody (J. Brown, 75); D. Elgar (A. Greenland, 83)
Subs not used: C. Knight; J. Turner
MOLESEY: W. Young; A. Graves; L. Elliott; J. Yeates; M. Spencer; D. Coombes; D. Lucas (E. Thompson, 68); S. Lampard (B. Pamment, 85); A. Jawonezvi; F. Ebrahim-Zadeh (D. Roberts, 77); J. McShane
Subs not used: R. Defoe; M. Hughes; D. Roberts
Referee: P. Melin