Guildford City recorded their second victory in a row after two months without one thanks to an injury time penalty save from Antony Hall. Two goals for Sean Rivers during his first start for the club either side of a well-taken free kick from Dave Kolodynski gave Guildford a 2-1 win over the league leaders.
Rugby Town started strongly and having recorded nine wins from their previous ten fixtures were confident of a similar rout from when
Guildford travelled to Butlin Road and were battered 6-1. On this occasion though, Guildford battled hard and deservedly confined Rugby to their first defeat since the 3rd of November.
The two best chances of the opening half hour fell to Rugby’s leading scorer Kolodynski; the first of which the striker received the ball from the right but Hall tipped his quick shot wide of the post and out for a corner; the next opportunity came from the left hand side but this time Hall was quick to close down and got his body behind the tame shot.
Guildford began to have an impact as Rivers saw more of the ball; he was able to hold it up and bring Scott Todd and Dan Moody into the game, and on the 40th minute Todd was tripped by full back Craig Kelly as he tried to spin round the defender – the ref pointed to the spot without hesitation before Rivers sent the keeper the wrong way for his first goal for the club (this time round at least!).
Guildford could have had a second before the break as a scramble in the penalty area led to two blocked efforts before the ball was partially cleared – only for Tom Penson to strike from thirty yards, but his shot soared wide.
The second half started in a similar gritty fashion and Guildford saw Jack Guilford, Elvis Defreitas and Ben Rayner all enter the book in quick succession, the second of which resulted in a free kick to Rugby on the edge of the box. Kolodynski stepped up and placed the ball in the top corner to make it 1-1; Hall got a hand to it but was unable to keep it out.
Minutes later the visitors were down to ten men as keeper Dave Bevan brought down Rivers, who had been played through by Moody into a goal scoring opportunity. Defender Mason Rowley took the yellow jersey and was fortunate that Moody’s free kick, from the foul on Rivers, flew over the bar, however, Rowley could do nothing as Rivers connected with Moody’s corner on the 69th minute to head Guildford back in front.
The ten men of Rugby then tried to lay siege on Guildford’s goal but were restricted to mainly long-range efforts, which Hall was comfortable with. Todd and Moody continued to threaten for the home side and were key in holding the ball up and easing the pressure on the defenders; the dogged and determined performance was typified by Will Heavey, Jack Guilford and Ben Rayner in the middle, who fought for every ball and gave Rugby no time to play.
The visitors were offered one final opportunity in injury time as a mistake from the otherwise exceptional Dammy Bada – bringing down Kolodynski in the box – resulted in a penalty. Substitute Richard Blythe stepped up but the brilliant Hall denied the late equaliser.
The spirited performance from Kevin Rayner’s side deserved all three points, and thoughts now turn quickly to Wednesday nights’ home fixture against Slough Town.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner (Captain), Tom Penson, Jamie Thoroughgood, Will Heavey, Dan Moody, Jack Guilford (Bruce McPhail), Sean Rivers (Junior Kaffo), Scott Todd, Dammy Bada.
Unused substitutes: Mike Hall, Luke Bradnick, Casey McCabe.
Cautioned: Jack Guilford, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner