GUILDFORD pulled off yet another fine win against a quality side in this encounter with high flying Camberley. This was no fluke, City matched their opponents for long stretches and thoroughly deserved to take the lead midway through the second half courtesy of Tommy Tydeman’s net busting goal of the season contender. Tommy’s elation was short-lived however as both he and Camberley defender Lee Riddell saw red for a scuffle a few minutes later. With all of us anticipating a nervy ending, Danny Elgar calmed the home fans’ nerves by putting the result beyond doubt two minutes from time.
To say that it was cold during this match would be an understatement – it was totally freezing, in fact Hatty the physio informed me beforehand that the temperature would drop to minus 5 by 8.30! Not surprisingly there were points where activity was pretty minimal – perhaps the players’ boots were getting stuck to the pitch! Camberley had come along at short notice after the original opponents, Chertsey Town, were allowed to rest their players ahead of their massive FA Vase replay on Saturday.
Camberley had the better of the early exchanges although the first chance of the match fell to City’s Tom Penson in the 4th minute – the Guildford defender rampaging up the pitch and firing a shot well wide from outside the box. Just two minutes later came the Krooners’ best chance of the match and perhaps if they had converted it, the outcome would have been different. Simon Cooper received the ball on the edge of the area and played an uncharacteristically poor back pass to Antony Hall which Liam Wright intercepted. The Camberley striker rounded the keeper but with the open net gaping somehow contrived to fire into the side netting from barely 5 yards out. What a let off. Moments later the same player skinned Jamie Thoroughgood down the right hand side before crossing into the box but Hall claimed the ball easily.
City, perhaps with a sense that their luck was in, started to edge their way back into the game, playing some impressive passing football but not carving out many clear-cut chances. Nevertheless debutant striker Luke Simpson should have done better in the 21st minute, bursting into the box but looping a weak shot into keeper Justin Gray’s arms. Camberley responded and a few minutes later Hinga Amara made a lightning run down the left and flicked the ball into the box – City defenders clearing but only as far as a Krooners player some 20 yards out who fired well over the bar. Amara continued to cause problems and would have gone one-on-one with Hall had not Jamie Thoroughgood pulled off a superb challenge to dispossess him on the half hour mark. The ball was immediately launched up the pitch and latched onto by Harrison Carnegie – the City striker isolated and without any other option electing to shoot and Gray spilling the shot but collecting on the second attempt. Carnegie turned provider a few minutes later, beating his man down the right wing and seeing his cross headed to Danny Elgar whose shot was blocked. Desultory attacks from both sides rounded off the half – a deflected Camberley shot from outside the box trickling through to Hall prior to Elvis Defreitas making one of his trademark rampaging runs after an excellent tackle and Ben Rayner sending a decent effort wide from an extreme angle.
The second half picked up where the first had left off with both sides making chances for themselves. Camberley were asking a lot of questions of the City defence but Guildford’s back four, as so often this season, soaked it all up allowing some pacey counter attacks at the other end. At the centre of it all was Simon Cooper, putting in a real captain’s performance, making perfectly timed tackles and even, in the 59th minute, going on a mazey run up the pitch – his shot unfortunately looping wide. On the hour mark came an excellent chance for the visitors, a forward beating the offside trap down the left hand side and with just Hall to beat, pulling the trigger from around 15 yards out: Hall advanced to meet him though and brilliantly saved the shot with his feet.
Many of us could see this game finishing 0-0 or worse 0-1 with Camberley nicking a goal and then shutting up shop. We should have had more faith in the team. The goal when it came was astonishing. Some good work down the left wing resulted in the ball being crossed into the box and headed as far as Tommy Tydeman who was lurking some 25 yards out. The City defender instinctively volleyed the clearance straight into the top corner – a goal as soon as it left his boot. To their credit the visitors responded immediately and went close from a header – although not as close as Antony Hall’s hilarious comedy dive suggested!
What happened in the 71st minute caught us all by surprise. Tommy Tydeman and Lee Riddell got into a scuffle, caused allegedly by Riddell spitting in Tommy’s face, and the ref with admirable control and consideration of advice from the assistant referee sent both players off. As expected the dismissals cancelled each other out and the match continued to be close. Camberley made some substitutions in a bid to inject some life back into their attack but it was City who started to look the sharper. In the 84th minute Jamie King played a wonderfully weighted ball through to Carnegie who attempted to lob the keeper but sent his shot just over the bar. The home side continued to press and some excellent harrying by Carnegie (no pun intended) on the right hand touchline led to the City striker intercepting the ball before sending an ambitious and ultimately poorly directed cross in the direction of Danny Elgar. It should have been bread and butter to clear but two defenders went for it at once allowing Danny Elgar to intercept, steal past them and fire clinically past the advancing Gray.
There were only two minutes of normal time remaining but we all suspected the delay caused by the sending off would mean lots of time added on and so it proved. In the 90th minute the Krooners nearly gave themselves a lifeline, a great strike from the edge of the area being met by an equally impressive diving save from Hall – the ball being pushed round the post for a corner which was cleared. Three minutes later Jamie King tried his own piledriver but his shot was easily caught by the Camberley keeper.
The visitors had two more chances – a powerful header from a freekick being held smartly by Hall and a long range effort going into “Row Z” a few moments later. Harrison had an excellent chance to make it 3-0 with the last kick of the game (in the 9th minute of stoppage time!) but his shot went well wide.
GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; T. Penson; C. Knight; S. Cooper; J. Thoroughgood; J. King; E. Defreitas (J. Brown, 51); B. Rayner (T. Tydeman, 58); Luke Simpson (R. McCarry, 79); H. Carnegie; D. Elgar
Subs not used: L. Bradnick; A. Greenland
Booked: L. Simpson
Sent off: T. Tydeman
CAMBERLEY TOWN: J. Gray; J. Short (D. Webb, 78); A. Millerick; L. Riddell; J. Sills; J. Hoppit; R. Green (D. Smith, 83); D. Ker; H. Amara; L. Wright; M. Girling
Subs not used: D. Barnard; J. Finnieston; J. Peace
Booked: J. Gray; D. Ker
Sent off: L. Riddell
Referee: S. Borham