City’s away day blues struck again with another comprehensive defeat on the road. Prior to kick-off there were high hopes that Guildford’s faltering season could be given a welcome kick start. On Thursday former crowd favourite Jamie Thoroughgood was welcomed back to the club, and late on Friday afternoon Darren Stapleton’s international clearance was confirmed allowing the Irishman to take his place in the line-up at Knights Lane. Indeed both Thoroughgood and Stapleton performed impressively, and despite this result there is significant hope for an upturn in fortunes. The home side came out all guns blazing, but despite some close calls City weathered the storm and fought their way back into the game. On 10 minutes Ben Walshe lifted the ball delicately over the home defence and unfortunately Pat Cox’s first touch took the ball away from him and his effort at full stretch went harmlessly wide. Another piece of Walshe ingenuity put Josh Clayman clear on the right side of the box but his cross was cleared under pressure. A minute later Pat Cox saw a volley sail wide after a sustained period of pressure. Always lively on the break, Will Dukes saved well from Richard Gregory’s header, before on 23 minutes Tyrone Fagan was given the chance to run through on goal and open the scoring with a low effort into the corner. City were suddenly under pressure and Dukes was called into action from Richard Gregory. Moments later an airborne Josh Clayman cleared from his line at full stretch. Once again Guildford rallied. Dom Ogun saw an excellent cross into the box cleared, and on 40 minutes Tuan West fired a trademark power cross into the box from the left, only for it to elude the City attack. Then just minutes before the interval Dom Ogun cut in toward the edge of the box and fired a powerful effort towards the top corner. Somehow home keeper Andy Kemp, making his debut, spectacularly tipped the goal bound effort over the bar.
Half-time Stratford Town 1 – 0 Guildford City
At the interval there was a definite sense amongst Sweeney fans that the game could still be won. City’s ideal requirement was an early goal, and not to concede early in the half. A minute into the second period Darren Stapleton’s inch perfect pass saw Pat Cox get behind the home defence. Advancing on goal Cox fired goalward, only for the effort to be saved by Andy Kemp’s legs. Then as if to make City pay, Ryan Bernard was unable to clear the ball and Richard Gregory latched onto the loose ball to slot home. Despite their best efforts Guildford largely ceased to be an attacking threat. After 62 minutes the ball was lost cheaply deep in City’s half, and the ball was played forward quickly for Richard Gregory to shoot into the corner. Will Dukes produced a splendid flying save on 70 minutes, before on 78 minutes the pressure told and Simeon Tulloch converted from the edge of the box, via a significant deflection. With five minutes remaining a third debutant Kevaugn Ward put Pat Cox into space but his first touch allowed the ball to run away; something that somehow just about summed up another Guildford City away day.
Team: Will Dukes, Josh Clayman, Darren Stapleton, Ryan Bernard, Jamie Thoroughgood, Calvin Thomas, Tuan West (Mike Woods 80), Romone McCrae (Darren Evans 80), Ben Walshe, Pat Cox, Dom Ogun (Kevaugn Ward 66). Unused subs: Dean Thomas.
Yellow and Red cards: Nil
Referee: Gareth Hubbard
Attendance – 158