There is a sense surrounding Guildford City at the moment of “what more can new do”. For regular watchers there is no doubt that the current side are vastly superior to the line-up that opened the season. At the moment though, and frustratingly for everybody who is putting in considerable time and effort, we are not getting reward on the pitch. This is nothing though that a win, and some luck will not rectify. This was never going to be an easy game of course. Shortwood’s league position is false, and coming off of the FA Cup victory over Aldershot, the televised cup clash against Port Vale, and a six goal victory in their last league fixture, this was not a side lacking in confidence, or indeed money after having banked £130,000 from their cup run.
In the first period Guildford City were very much a match for their hosts. Shortwood enjoyed more possession and posed threats from set pieces, but City’s defence were coping admirably. Guildford also posed a threat going forward, with Dom Ogun in particular posing the home side problems down the left flank. Indeed from one such cross the ball appeared to hit a defenders arm, but despite appeals for a penalty play was waved on. No real surprise there as in 19 matches this season City have failed to win a penalty decision. Good set piece delivery from Ben Walshe provided City with another outlet and on the half hour a free-kick from the half-way line eluded the home defence, and by inches the advancing Omari Hibbert. Minutes later Hibbert challenged for a high ball in the home box. Pat Cox latched on to the loose ball but his under hit shot was fielded comfortably by Tom King in the home goal. Immediately at the other end Shortwood hit back with a shot just over the bar, followed by Will Dukes making one of several fine saves to keep City level. Sweeney fans present were anticipating getting to the interval goalless but typically this was not to be. A low cross from the right zipped across the edge of the area. Returned quickly from the left Duncan Culley was on hand to side foot home for a 43rd minute opener. To their credit City tried desperately to get back on level terms in the short period left before half-time. Firstly Ryan Bernard turned the ball across goal after a free-kick but nobody was able to get the vital touch. Then seconds later in an almighty scramble Pat Cox had a powerful effort from 12 yards parried by King, and Josh Clayman, following up, saw an even fiercer effort blocked on the line. There was still time for Shortwood to hit the post after Will Dukes perhaps committed himself unwisely.
Half-time Shortwood United 1 – 0 Guildford City
Shortwood came out for the second period looking to kill the game off, and within seconds had struck the crossbar, and forced Dukes into a low save. Again Shortwood were enjoying the bulk of possession, but City still looked to attack on the break. On 55 minutes Calvin Thomas’s powerful effort from 25 yards was punched clear by King, whilst minutes later the same player saw a fine effort go just wide after a patient build up. On 70 minutes Tuan West entered the field from the bench as an attacking option, but it was from his defensive header that Shortwood scored their decisive second goal; the ball looping high into the air for John Cant to volley home from the edge of the box. On 75 minutes with vital decisions seemingly going against the visitors Darren Stapleton showed his frustration and received a second yellow card. As if to sum up the bad fortune Shortwood controversially scored their third on 83 minutes; Kevin Slack coming from an offside position to turn the ball home. As the game entered stoppage time Dukes parried a long range effort only to see Slack turn the ball in at the far post for the home side’s fourth.
Team: Will Dukes, Josh Clayman, Dom Ogun, Ryan Bernard, Bruce McPhail, Dean Thomas (Tuan West 70), Calvin Thomas (Alex Afful 82), Ben Walshe, Omari Hibbert (George Bowerman 65), Pat Cox, Darren Stapleton. Unused subs: Kevaugn Ward, Jordan Taylor.
Red Card: Darren Stapleton (two yellow cards)
Referee: Richard Morris
Attendance – 88