With Northwood manager Gary Meakin, having announced his move to Ryman Premier club Wingate & Finchley from next week, it was always likely that his players would want to mark his final game with an impressive send off. And so it proved as they came out impressively from the off, dominating possession throughout much of the first half. The home side’s first real opportunity came after eight minutes when Elvis Defreitas under hit a back pass, and Antony Hall made the first of a series of impressive saves; on this occasion at the feet of the advancing Leon Osei. City were struggling to make inroads into the final third, but regardless it was Guildford who opened the scoring on 17 minutes. An impressive passing move involving Simon Cooper and Dammy Bada, set up Corey Holder’s cross into the box. Home keeper James Reading struggled to hold the ball, and Joel Hughes had the simple task of side footing the loose ball home. Shortly after another excellent save from Hall, Northwood scored a deserved equaliser. Dean Worman crossed from the left and central defender Brad Hewitt converted with a low drive from 15 yards. Guildford came close to retaking the lead after 31 minutes, when Reading failed to hold Dan Moody’s shot, but just managed to block Austin Gacheru’s follow up effort. From the resulting corner Jamie Thoroughgood’s header back across goal was narrowly headed over by Gacheru. Then just minutes before the interval Tommy Tydeman had a glorious opportunity to nudge City ahead. In more space than he thought, his rushed effort was parried by Reading, and Moody’s follow up effort was easily gathered by the keeper.
On 49 minutes City had another great chance to go ahead. A delightful cross from the right by Tommy Tydeman saw Joel Hughes volley over the bar from eight yards out, when taking the chance with his head was probably the better option. Hughes nearly made amends when minutes later he took a difficult ball on his chest and his volleyed effort forced Reading into a save. The home side were still enjoying the better posse4ssion and twice dangerous crosses just eluded the onrushing strikers in the box. Will Heavey’s introduction on the hour did spark life into City, and on 69 minutes his powerful shot from 20 yards was well pushed round by Reading. As the game entered the final stages Hall again made two wondrous saves, and most Sweeney fans present were ready to settle for a deserved point. Will Heavey again forced a full stretch save from his flicked header, and then as the game entered stoppage time a good break involving Defreitas, Heavey and Gacheru led to Dan Moody being the victim of a clumsy challenge on the edge of the box. Referee Dave Sheldrake was well placed to award the penalty, and it was Moody himself who stepped up to convert from the spot to claim a late victory.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner (Jeremy Williams 78), Simon Cooper, Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Tommy Tydeman (Junior Kaffo 70), Austin Gacheru, Joel Hughes, Dammy Bada (Will Heavey 59).
Unused substitutes: Mike Hall.
Cautioned: Ben Rayner, Dan Moody, Tommy Tydeman.
Referee: D Sheldrake