Guildford City gave a disappointing display at the Spectrum on the rain-affected surface, and continued their poor form with a 3-0 home defeat against Burnham. Goals came from Ryan Bird and a brace from Staforde Palmer.
Going into the tie it had been nearly a month since Guildford’s last victory, against Woodford United who sit bottom of the league, and opponents Burnham were just about the form team in the division, having won four of their last five, including their four previous away matches. And on this occasion the formbook proved guidance for the direction of the match.
The turf was sticky and broke up in patches, which made it hard for both sides to play fluently, and the difficulty to change direction at speed proved to be Guildford’s downfall in the opening minutes with wingers James Dobson and Josh Webb proving difficult to contain.
Guildford were without Joel Hughes and Ben Rayner, the second of whom was hugely missed in the middle of the park as Burnham were able to dominate proceedings due to their size in midfield.
The first effort of the game came from a Simon Cooper free kick; Jaydon Gibbs had been fouled thirty yards out, but the centre back’s shot whistled wide.
Guildford were troubled shortly after, as Dobson, down the left hand side, beat Elvis Defreitas and miscued his delivery into the box but it almost threatened Antony Hall’s net as it flew just over.
The opening goal came after 17 minutes, as a low cross from the right hand side found Palmer, who was afforded time to control, turn and shoot before being closed down. Hall had no chance.
Hall did however make a good stop from Ryan Bird, the league’s top scorer with 20 goals prior to kick off, as he was played through on goal and struck quickly.
Nothing though, could be done about Burnham and Palmer’s second goal. It came in the 32nd minute as a cross, again from the right hand side, was delivered, this time the clearance was made but only to the edge of the box where the striker volleyed first time into the top corner.
Guildford came alive for the first time with ten minutes on the clock before the break, Dan Moody steamed down the right hand side, skinning the Burnham full back, but there was no one in the box to meet his cross. Moody then nearly pulled one back as he found himself in front of goal after Gibbs’ through-ball, but the winger fired wide.
Changes were made early in the second half with Scott Elgar and Junior Kaffo replacing Tom Penson and Will Heavey, but they were unable to change the course of the match.
Burnham got their third and final goal in the 64th minute as Bird broke free of the defensive line and ended any hope Guildford had retained of getting back into the match; it was his third attempt of the game and his 21st goal of the season.
Jack Guilford then replaced Austin Gacheru in an attempt to force a threat up top for the last half an hour, this however proved difficult with Burnham’s physical backline. Guildford’s best player had been Dan Moody and he was unlucky not to grab a consolation goal as he struck the angle of the post and the bar and Jack Guilford was flagged offside as he tried to reach the rebound.
One to forget for Guildford City, but next week’s tie against Aylesbury marks the halfway point in the season, and this being City’s first foray into this division since promotion from Step five is something to remember; twenty games in and City sit sixth and just six points behind league leaders Rugby Town.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Tom Penson (Scott Elgar 50), Simon Cooper (Capt), Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Will Heavey (Junior Kaffo 50), Austin Gacheru (Jack Guilford 65), Tommy Tydeman, Jaydon Gibbs.
Unused Substitutes: Mike Hall, Dammy Bada.
Cautioned: Jack Guilford, Tommy Tydeman.