Guildford City fired themselves to the top of the table with an impressive 4-1 victory over bottom club Woodford United. A brace from man of the match Tom Penson, and goals from Will Heavey and Ben Rayner before a consolation from Joe Power in the dying minutes, was enough for Guildford.
City came into this fixture off the back of their first home defeat of the season, against Ashford Town on Wednesday evening, and were without suspended captain Simon Cooper. Kevin Rayner though, was able to shuffle the pack and still get a comfortable victory.
Guildford took the lead after 12 minutes, Penson with his first of the afternoon. An over-hit cross seemed to be running out of play and winger Zondi Chunga was happy to see it out. Jamie Thoroughgood though, had other ideas, he chased the ball down and flicked it past Chunga before delivering into the box; Penson controlled with his chest and finished beyond keeper Jamie Brassington.
The game was thirty minutes old before Guildford keeper Antony Hall made his first meaningful contribution. Gokan Ulker drove into the area, his touch though was too heavy, and Hall collected with ease.
Guildford nearly doubled their lead as Penson, played through one-on-one, lobbed the keeper, the bar though denied the winger his second of the afternoon, for the time being.
Will Heavey did double the lead in the 37th minute as he drove forward from the halfway line playing a one-two with stand-in striker Junior Kaffo. Heavey tried to slip in Penson, the ball however, deflected back into his own path before he struck it beyond the keeper.
Minutes later Heavey was unlucky not to get a second, his thirty-yard effort tipped onto the bar by Brassington, and the sides went into the break with Guildford two up.
The second half started much like the first and with Guildford in complete Tom Penson increased the lead with his second of the afternoon, in the 58th minute, heading in Ben Rayner’s free kick.
In the 65th minute Woodford had their best piece of play, they moved quickly down the left hand side and forced an excellent save from Hall, who tipped the ball onto the post. A great reaction save from Hall, keen to make up for his mistake mid-week.
It was 4-0 to Guildford on the 68th minute as the ball dropped to Ben Rayner, who in acres of space, beat the keeper with a well executed finish.
Debutant Ryan Long was introduced and could have scored with a couple of efforts, particularly after some great play on the right, beating a defender after managing to keep the ball in play, the keeper though stood strong.
Woodford pulled one back on the 86th minute through Joe Power, it was cruel on Hall, yet to keep a clean sheet since October 20th. Hall dealt with the initial effort, saving well with his chest, but could do nothing about the rebound that looped over his head.
The game finished 4-1, and with Royston Town’s game abandoned due to floodlight failure at Rugby Town, Guildford go top. City’s next match is away at Royston next Saturday where they will hope to extend the lead to six points.
Guildford City: Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas (Ryan Long), Ben Rayner, Tony Chaplin, Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Will Heavey (Bruce McPhail), Junior Kaffo (Anthony Bridgeman), Tom Penson, Dammy Bada.
Unused Substitutes: Mike Hall, Jaydon Gibbs.
Cautioned: Tom Penson.
Referee: Sam Ogles
Match report by Bruce Archer