Guildford City struck twice late on through Dan Moody and Joel Hughes to recover from 2-1 down, to win 3-2, against ten-man North Greenford United.
Guildford were without winger Jaydon Gibbs through injury and the suspended Jack Guilford, serving the first of his four match ban, and it was their creative spark that was missing from the home sides performance, particularly in the opening half.
The visitors took the lead, in what was an evenly contested and fairly uneventful first period, from the penalty spot, after 42 minutes. Captain Liam Hind stepped up and stroked beyond keeper Antony Hall after a foul from a corner.
Guildford had threatened to break the deadlock on occasions, mainly from deep free kicks as Simon Cooper and Ben Rayner lofted balls into Greenford’s box, however, Hughes and Tommy Tydeman could only head over.
Guildford’s best chance of the half came as Hughes chased down a lost cause as Hind looked in control, the forward dispensed him of the ball before cutting back to Moody, whose shot was blocked for a corner.
Greenford were creating chances of their own and Hind should have scored before he eventually did; a free kick near the byline was cut back to the skipper, who from ten yards out hit straight at Hall who gratefully held onto the ball.
The half time whistle blew at The Spectrum with the away side 1-0 up.
A tactical switch at half time saw Tom Penson, who’d been playing right wing, shifted to left back and Corey Holder moved into midfield to allow Rayner to play higher and closer to Austin Gacheru with Hughes pulling out to the left. Hughes was knocked flying moments later, as he drove forward from wide and into the penalty area, the ref however, awarded a goal kick.
On the 61st minute Moody was threaded through and put one-on-one with keeper Sam Mazurek, the winger’s tricky feet too fast for the goalie who brought him down. Mazurek was shown a straight red and a penalty awarded. Moody stepped up himself to take the kick and fired past Liam Hind who had replaced the keeper between the sticks.
From this point Guildford saw the game as theirs for the taking and began to pile on the pressure, Moody got down the left well but was unable to find Gacheru with a delivery.
From nowhere North Greenford were back in front after 70 minutes, a long ball knocked over the top beat Elvis Defreitas and Dan Carter slid beyond Hall from a tight angle, the keeper was noticeably disappointed to concede softly.
Then came the fight-back. On the 84th minute Dan Moody scored his 50th goal for the club; Gacheru recovered the ball after a clearance from a corner, he lofted it over the defenders, via a flick from Ben Rayner, and Moody had the goal at his mercy before slotting past the keeper.
The urgency and passion was there, brought on by the double substitution that saw Will Heavey and Junior Kaffo introduced. Guildford were going for it. The ball was knocked down the right-hand side to Gacheru who delivered low for Joel Hughes to knick in front of the keeper, and supply the winning finish.
The game though, wasn’t quite done yet. There was still time on the clock as a long-range effort saw Hall spectacularly tip over the bar to save all three points for Guildford. Victory keeps City in fourth just two points off leaders Godalming Town and with a game in hand. The team travel to local rivals Chertsey Town on Tuesday evening.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas (Will Heavey 85), Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper (Tony Chaplin 70), Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Tommy Tydeman (Junior Kaffo 85), Austin Gacheru, Joel Hughes, Tom Penson.
Unused substitutes: Dammy Bada, Mike Hall.
Cautioned: Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper, Corey Holder, Tom Penson
Referee: Ben Furneaux