After 28 days of weather induced inactivity City finally made their way onto a football field to play a competitive fixture. It was understandable then that City should look on the rusty side, and looked short of puff in the later stages. City went into the match not only physically underdone, but also short of numbers with injuries, illness and unavailability taking its toll. By no stretch of the imagine was this a good Guildford performance. Particularly in the first half though City did have chances, and indeed were somewhat unlucky to concede a penalty. However few people present would argue that Barton deserved their victory.
Barton opened the match slightly the livelier of the two sides; perhaps legacy of their thrilling draw against Slough two days previously. As the game settled, so did City and after five minutes Luke Bradnick made a fine run out of midfield and was only thwarted by a splendid last ditch challenge. Similarly Anthony Bridgeman, starting a game for the first time in more than a year, had a fine run down the right stopped by a tremendous tackle. City’s first shot on goal came after 26 minutes when Bridgeman again found space on the right to set up Scott Todd whose early effort just eluded the angle of crossbar and post. Guildford’s best effort of the half came on the half hour when Antony Hall’s quick clearance found Dan Moody who latched onto the ball, and after taking it past a defender smashed a fierce effort just over. As if to emphasise this was no one sided match, Barton’s Tom Guiney got the better of City’s defensive line, but his glanced effort went straight to Antony Hall. On 40 minutes Luke Bradnick, enjoying a fine half in a central midfield role, and Dan Moody sent Scott Todd free down the left. Taking the ball to the bi-line, Todd pulled the ball back where an onrushing Antony Bridgeman blazed the bouncing ball just over. Then, as if to make Guildford pay for their missed chances, Barton snatched the lead just minutes from half-time. The impressive Rhys Hoeness made a great run out of midfield, and then seconds later managed to get himself on the end of a cross from the right to hook the ball into the City net.
Barton came out for the second period playing at a different tempo, and straight from the kick-off Antony Hall was forced to tip over a fiercely hit 30 yard effort. Then minutes later Barton went two goals ahead when amidst a goalmouth scramble, referee Paul Forrester controversially awarded a penalty for Jamie Thoroughgood handling the ball on the line. Up stepped Jermaine Hall who made no mistake driving low into the corner. Not deterred City forced themselves back into the game. On 51 minutes Dan Moody’s free-kick was glanced on by Junior Kaffo for Sean Rivers to volley home from close range. For ten minutes City took the game to the home side and on 56 minutes they had a glorious chance to equalise. After some nice touches on the edge of the Barton box, Kaffo fed Dan Moody whose delicate effort dribbled agonisingly slowly inches wide of the post. By now City with their play-off hopes diminishing were piling people forward in search of an equaliser. Inevitably this left gaps at the back and on 61 minutes Rhys Hoeness scored his second of the game after a break down the right. As the minutes ticked away City went to three at the back and four up front in a final glorious effort. This time fortune did not favour the brave and surely now Guildford’s play-off dreams will have died.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Tom Penson, Simon Cooper, Jamie Thoroughgood, Anthony Bridgeman (Casey McCabe 45), Dan Moody, Junior Kaffo, Sean Rivers, Scott Todd (Bruce McPhail 64), Luke Bradnick (Mike Hall 88).
Unused substitutes: Dammy Bada, Scott Elgar
Cautioned: Luke Bradnick
Referee: Paul Forrester