CITY continued their sensational league form with this routine victory over struggling Dorking. This was very much a game of two halves. The first 45 was a tale of men against boys as City took their opponents apart courtesy of some fantastic finishing – Luke Bradnick and Anthony Bridgeman both scoring their first league goals for the club. The second period was far closer as the Chicks pegged the home side back but could not find back of the net. The game finished with more chances for City and Dorking’s keeper pulling off some superb saves.
There were a number of reasons for us to be pessimistic prior to this match. First with all the rain in the week, it seemed unlikely that the pitch would be playable: luckily some hard work ensured it could go ahead. Secondly Guildford faced selection dilemmas with strikers Harrison, Lance and key defender Cooper all suspended and Tom Penson and Tom Tydeman unable to attend. Kev Rayner was not phased however – putting Bridgey at right back once more to counter any pacey runs and giving a start to Luke Bradnick with new signing Glenn Phillips ready to come on from the bench.
Guildford began the game positively and within the first five minutes Jack McLeod almost latched onto a well executed through ball – Chicks keeper Sam Freeman just gathering in time. City continued to dominate possession – Dorking struggling to come to terms with the home side’s high tempo – and the first goal was not long in coming, although it was rather a scrappy affair. Luke Bradnick received the ball down the left side and powered through on goal with the Chicks defence static. The City striker beat Freeman and with a Dorking defender about to close him down, fired home from close range.
The visitors looked stunned and City gave them no time to regain their bearings. Just five minutes later came Guildford’s second and it was a beauty. Luke Bradnick received the ball inside the area and with no apparent options proceeded beat the defender with a skilful turn and fire into the roof of the net before the keeper could react. Heads were dropping among the Chicks players but the home side were not in the mood for mercy, notching their third three minutes later. A cross was lofted high into the box and who should get his head to it but the makeshift rightback Anthony Bridgeman – the ball curling in at the bottom of the far post.
It would have been tempting fate to say that the match seemed already won at this point (especially in the light of the East Preston experience) but that must have been in the minds of the Dorking players. Certainly Guildford dominated the remainder of the half but without forging any further clear cut chances. In the 28th minute Bridgey nearly latched onto a wonderful raking pass but could not quite keep the ball in at the byline. Four minutes later another crossfield ball found James Brown – the City midfielder getting his shot away but the ball being deflected for a corner. With so little happening at the other end, Jamie Thoroughgood tried to get in on the act in the 38th minute – just missing the target from inside the area. The half concluded however with signs that the Chicks were starting to believe again – a well taken freekick from the edge of the area being claimed by Hall.
If we thought Dorking were going to give us an easy time of it in the second half we were mistaken. The Chicks shook things up a bit with a double substitution and with City clearly looking to have taken their feet of the pedal, the play for the first 20 minutes or so was almost entirely one way. Three minutes in, Dorking won a freekick on the edge of the box which was swung in onto the head of the unmarked Scott Harrison – the right back’s effort flying over the bar. Another freekick followed before some excellent work down the right from Andy Millar resulted in a shot hitting the side-netting. Guildford were getting sloppy and Antony Hall did not help matters with a poor throw out on the hour mark nearly put a Dorking forward clear on goal. The Chicks best chance came in the 65th minute from yet another freekick – Taylor Mollatt’s low shot being deflected upwards and Hall reacting just in time to push the ball onto the bar and behind.
The home side at last seemed to awaken from their slumber, helped by some substitutions. With wing play limited due to the heavy pitch, Guildford started to play long balls up to Bridgey and Adrian Greenland and the home side looked threatening once again. In the 80th minute Greeno made a pacey run down the right before unleashing a thunderbolt zeroed in on the top corner but somehow Freeman got his fingertips to it and the ball was cleared. Two minutes later the Chicks keeper was under siege again – McLeod seeing his shot blocked before a long range shot was gathered. Bridgeman got in on the act at this point, firing wide of the post and then in the 85th minute drawing another outstanding save from inside the box. Dorking then won a freekick which Hall caught at his near post.
City could have scored twice more before fulltime but Freeman was on fire by this point – blocking a Jack McLeod shot with his feet and getting his fingertips to yet another Greenland shot. The home side had to be content with 3-0 and a league placing in single figures for the first time this season.
GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; A. Bridgeman; C. Knight; E. Defreitas; J. Thoroughgood; J. King (Glenn Phillips, 86); L. Bradnick (A. Greenland, 63); B. Rayner; J. Brown; J. McLeod; D. Elgar (R. McCarry, 74)
Subs not used: T. Arnold; S. Elgar
DORKING: S. Freeman; S. Harrison; M. Farrell; T. Mollatt; A. Moore (A. Gallimore, 46); S. Murphy; A. Millar; M. Meite; J. Pendrill (D. Zada, 46); J. Bwantou (R. Perry, 46); I. Elusade
Subs not used: M. Waldren
Booked: S. Murphy
Referee: L. Smith