Guildford City responded to conceding eleven goals in a week in superb fashion; by keeping their first clean-sheet of the season and beating a dangerous Leighton Town by a goal to nil. It was an inspired performance from the back four, led by the outstanding skipper Simon Cooper, and goalkeeper to keep the visitors out.
Jack Guilford’s third goal of the season was the difference between the two teams as he beat Haydn Dodge, in the Leighton goal, to Austin Gacheru’s cross in the 68th minute.
An understandably edgy start to the game saw Leighton create the better openings. Ross Hanley headed onto the crossbar from close range after a cross from the right-hand side evaded Cooper and Jamie Thoroughgood, the woodwork coming to Guildford’s rescue.
Guildford’s best chance of the first half came from a poor throw out from the Leighton keeper. The ball went straight to Jaydon Gibbs who cut inside the full back, but was unable to trouble the keeper who had repositioned himself in time to make a comfortable save.
Antony Hall, in goal for Guildford City, was impressive in dealing with the high balls aimed up to giant centre forward Leon Simpson. He took two deliveries right off the head of the 6 ft 10 inch striker, as well as saving low with his feet as Bilal Hassan broke the offside trap.
As the half went on Guildford began to look more progressive going forward, with Dan Moody and Elvis Defreitas linking up well and creating opportunities to deliver from the right-hand side. Gacheru however, was well marked and was unable to get on the end of anything. The two sides went into the break on level terms.
The second half got under way with a lower intensity but that changed as the Leighton Town players reacted furiously to a challenge by Defreitas who had lost the ball and slid-in to win it back. The Guildford full back was booked for the tackle and shortly after Will Heavey, although not on the pitch, joined him in the book, presumably for dissent.
The deciding moment of the match came in the 68th minute. Austin Gacheru worked the ball into a deeper area before spinning to deliver a terrific cross aimed towards the back post. Jack Guilford was the quickest to react and broke free of his marker to nudge the ball beyond Dodge with an outstretched leg, the ball nestled into the corner of the net.
Guildford had a second goal ruled out, for a foul on the keeper from a corner but it wasn’t clear who had put the ball in the net. Leighton came at City but found Guildford’s defensive unit too strong, Simon Cooper was the man of the match and Guildford now go joint top with Daventry Town, who have played a game more. Godalming Town have dropped to third having let a two-goal lead slip away at Biggleswade Town to lose 3-2 in the final five minutes.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Simon Cooper ©, Jamie Thoroughgood,Tony Chaplin, Ben Rayner, Tommy Tydeman, Jack Guilford (Will Heavey 87), Dan Moody, Jaydon Gibbs, Austin Gacheru (Corey Holder 77).
Unused substitutes: Moses Spencer, Tom Penson, Junior Kaffo.
Cautioned: Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner, Austin Gacheru, Will Heavey.
Referee: S Potter