Guildford City meekly departed the FA Cup at the first hurdle at a stunned Spectrum on Saturday. South Park, although playing their football a level lower than City, in truth won the game in something of a canter, with the home side seldom threatening the away goal. A very disappointed Dean Thomas spoke post-match of lack of heart amongst his players, and whether that is true or not, this was certainly the poorest of City’s early season displays.
In fact it was Guildford who had the game’s opening chance, and a good chance it was as well. Ben Walshe’s perfectly flighted pass put debutant Yacine Gnahore free into the box but sadly his effort went wide of the post. A goal at that point and who knows?? Just minutes later a mistake on the half-way line by Tuan West saw David Smith racing goal ward, and when his low shot nestled into the far corner, it was Guildford who were in the all too familiar position of having to chase the game. Matt Yorke glanced a headed effort straight at the keeper, and on 15 minutes Pat Cox’s effort was blocked for a corner. South Park always looked dangerous in possession and Aaron Bufton was twice called into action to save with his feet. Perhaps the game’s defining moment came on 32 minutes when the referee, having consulted both linesman, gave centre-back Ryan Bernard a second yellow card for an off the ball incident. Down to 10 men, a goal down and with an hour left to play it was going to take a super effort to get something from the game.
Half time: Guildford City 0 – 1 South Park
Guildford to their credit looked more composed in the second period, without though being able to find that killer pass, or create a clear opening. The best effort of the half came on 55 minutes when Calvin Thomas’s volley from the edge of the box was comfortably saved following a City free-kick. South Park still looked lively on the break and a last ditch block by Bruce McPhail and a smart Bufton save kept City in the game at just a goal down. Predictably perhaps, with City trying to press forward, South Park made the most of the extra space and Chris Smith had space and time to shoot home from the edge of the box. Then in the final stages, having seen Tuan West’s long range effort sail harmlessly wide, South Park scored again when Chris Smith had plenty of time to steer a low shot into the corner. As if to rub it in South Park clinched their fourth in stoppage time when Kieran Lavery converted direct from a free-kick.
Team: Aaron Bufton, Olumide Lapite (Bruce McPhail 54), Tuan West, Tom Mudge, Ryan Bernard, Yacine Gnahore, Calvin Thomas, Matt Yorke, George Bowerman (Laurie Walters 62), Pat Cox, Ben Walshe (Dean Thomas 72). Unused subs: Kieran Burrell, Matthew King, Darren Evans, Will Dukes.
Yellow card: Tuan West, Pat Cox, Dean Thomas
Red Card (two yellows): Ryan Bernard
Referee: Harry Lennard
Attendance – 73