Guildford City were edged out of this action packed seven goal match by an efficient Chessington side who made their few chances count. The hosts piled on the pressure throughout the match but were undone by three sloppily conceded goals before the break. Despite Ben Camara’s penalty levelling matters, Welch’s late goal secured three points for the visitors and inflicted a second successive defeat on a depleted City side.
City started well, with Luke Bradnick firing a powerful drive towards goal in the opening minute that was pushed away. Jamie Thoroughgood opened the scoring in the third minute, arriving at the back post to steer home Guildford’s 100th goal of the season in the young defender’s 99th game for the side. It was Thoroughgood who netted City’s century goal last season as well – proving that lightning does indeed strike twice. Bradnick had another good chance before the lead was doubled when Jaydon Gibbs scored with a sweetly hit shot halfway through the first period.
It is said that you are most vulnerable after scoring and so it proved, Chessington’s Smith splitting the City defence open to pull a goal back immediately. The siege did not stop however, with Ben Camara hitting a rasping shot from distance that was tipped onto the bar. But Chessington levelled shortly before half time when Scott Todd went down, perhaps rather easily, in the City box. He stepped up to bury the resulting penalty and bring the score to 2-2. Minutes later it went from bad to worse for the hosts. Despite a significant suspicion of handball in the build-up, Cole-Bolt was able to put Chessington ahead after Hall’s save rebounded to his feet. Despite controlling proceedings for the first half, City found themselves behind at the break.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with the hosts on top but struggling to find a way through an increasingly niggly Chessington defence, while the visitors did everything in their power to run down the clock. Tony Chaplin found a lot of space down City’s left flank but couldn’t quite find the final ball into the box. As was so often the case during this match, a break from the visitors caught the defence flat footed and undermanned, with another penalty given away. This time Antony Hall was equal to it, palming the ball away to keep City in with a shout.
With a little under half an hour remaining, the race was on for City to salvage something from the game. The big moment came in the 76th minute when Lance Banton-Brown ended up on the floor inside the Chessington penalty area. There may have been minimal contact but City took their opportunity with Ben Camara smashing home the penalty to level the scores at 3-3.
But any thought of a City winner were dispelled when Tommy Tydeman was bizarrely sent off for a second caution. Minutes later, Chessington caught Guildford on the break once more and Welch netted another rebound from Hall to win three points for the visitors. Ultimately a disappointing day for City who missed their chance to regain top spot in the league with Chertsey Town out of action.