Beaconsfield became the first team to complete a Southern League double over City at a sunny Holloways Park on Saturday. In an entertaining and competitive match, the home side came through in stoppage time to maintain their play-off challenge whilst City, who were down to ten men for the final 15 minutes, gave their all and will have been disappointed in the end not to have taken something from the game.
Beaconsfield opened brightly and twice early on threatened the visitor’s goal; on the latter occasion Tom Penson tracked back superbly to thwart Ryan Blake’s rampaging run. As the match proceeded City gained more of a foothold and Joel Hughes in his first start since 20 February lobbed the ball against the home goalmouth and Dan Moody was just unable to force the ball home at the far post. On 21 minutes Guildford took the lead when Ben Rayner’s free-kick from the right was nodded down by Sean Rivers and Jamie Thoroughgood was on hand to poke home his third goal in three games. Beaconsfield had an opportunity to get back into the game on 27 minutes when a raised arm in the Guildford defence gave Ryan Blake an opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot. However not for the first time this season Antony Hall guessed right and he made a quite brilliant save low down to his right. The home side were not to be denied for long and on 35 minutes Yashwa Romeo got the wrong side of the defence to volley home from 20 yards. With momentum in their favour they almost scored a second but Nathan Poulton’s effort was well saved by Hall, with Tom Penson mopping up the loose ball.
Sensing they needed to up their game to maintain their play-off challenge, Beaconsfield looked the livelier of the sides during the second period. Not that it was all way traffic with City constantly looking dangerous on the counter-attack. Within minutes of the restart the home side had taken the lead; a free-kick from the left driven in for Nathan Poulton to net with a powerful header at the back post. On the hour Junior Kaffo’s fine half volley was heading for the top corner until Sam Southerden in the home goal reacted brilliantly to fist away. In a pulsating period of end to end football Beaconsfield were soon at the other end and Poulton’s shot was well parried by Antony Hall, and fortunately for City Romeo managed to shoot the loose ball over a gaping net. After 67 minutes City were back on level terms. Joel Hughes latched onto the ball down the left, and cutting inside a defender shot inside the far corner from 15 yards. Another fine save from Hall was followed soon after by the dismissal of Tom Penson, who had been outstanding at the heart of the City defence. A long through ball had found Romeo through on goal and Penson’s last ditch challenge was mistimed, and being the last defender referee Malcolm McIntyre understandably showed the red card. As the game entered stoppage time both sides had a crucial opportunity to clinch the game. Firstly Scott Todd and Junior Kaffo set up Dan Moody from the edge of the box but his powerful effort whistled inches wide. Then within seconds the home side were rampaging down the right flank, and with the ball pulled back across goal Yashwa Romeo was on hand to slide the ball home for the winner. Full credit to City though for playing their part in a terrific match, and with nothing to gain this season other than pride, they were still piling forward in stoppage time in an effort to get something from the game.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper, Jamie Thoroughgood, Tom Penson, Dan Moody, Junior Kaffo, Sean Rivers (Scott Todd 60), Joel Hughes, Dammy Bada (Bruce McPhail 87).
Unused substitutes: Tyrone Newton, Casey McCabe, Mike Hall.
Cautioned: Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner
Sent off: Tom Penson
Referee: Malcolm McIntyre