After Dean Thomas’ resignation of the managerial position of Guildford City Football Club, the return of Kevin Rayner at the helm brought confidence to the club as there was hope of him replicating his previous successes. Despite City not winning the game, they definitely gave a performance to be proud of against Cinderford Town. The first half started with an immediate yellow card for Jack Guilford after a challenge on Cinderford’s George Lloyd which set the pace of the opening exchanges as both sides played with a high tempo.
Free kicks from both Dale Evans and Warren Archer provided danger from the visitors but they both fell into Antony Hall’s arms. City’s first chance of the game came through Jack Guilford after a header from a Ben Walshe free kick, before Cinderford’s Joe Tumelty hit the bottom of Hall’s bar from distance. Cinderford were getting the better of City’s defence but were caught offside numerous times; Lewis Sommers the main victim of the lineman’s raised flag. The striker then had a great chance to put the visitor’s in front as his low shot was inches from goal. But City looked lively and created movement in front of goal but couldn’t seem to find the final touch.
Some great skill from Elvis Defreitas who commanded the back four saw off the majority of Cinderford’s threats. Pat Cox and Dom Ogun also controlled the left wing before Cox himself had a shot blocked. But just as the game appeared to be dying down the first goal was scored. George Lloyd was fouled in the penalty area and the referee signalled for a spot kick which was taken by Dale Evans, sending Antony Hall the wrong way with 34 minutes played. However City were determined to fight back as Omari Hibbert played the perfect pass through to Pat Cox but the striker appeared to be offside. Cinderford could have made it two before the break as a header from Clayton Green tested Antony Hall but the ‘keeper managed a great save, parrying the shot away from danger.
Half time – Guildford City 0 – 1 Cinderford Town
The second half began with almost the same instance as Antony Hall made another good block to prevent Lewis Sommers adding Cinderford’s second after some good skill from George Lloyd who drove the ball into the area.
But this was a sign of things to come as Sommers did get on the score sheet five minutes later; his initial header from a cross was denied by the crossbar before heading the rebound past Hall on 50 minutes. The visitor’s then had a dominating spell of play which saw George Lloyd as the main threat, causing havoc in the box after being fed through. This pressure was rewarded on 62 minutes through Joe Tumelty after his powerful shot from 25 yards gave Antony Hall no chance. Although three nil down, City did not give up.
A Ben Walshe free kick from the left flew over the top of many players before falling to Josh Clayman, but his effort flew over the bar. Guildford were passing the ball well as substitute Antony Bridgeman made an immediate impact, silkily seeing off three Cinderford defenders but couldn’t find a chance to shoot. City were finally on target with 75 minutes played through Pat Cox after his header was neatly finished in the top right hand corner from Ben Walshe’s free kick. This spurred City on who surged forward; Antony Bridgeman attempted to inspire a late comeback but his low shot was easily caught.
City then came extremely close as Dom Ogun saw his effort cleared off the line after his initial header was blocked by Cinderford goalkeeper Alex Harris. As the floodlights got brighter so did Guildford who battled on despite the two goal deficit; Ben Walshe’s free kick looked dangerous but was blocked by the Cinderford wall and substitute Kevaugn Ward broke through on the right but his shot hit the side netting. Jack Guilford then had a headed effort caught in the dying stages. Although Cinderford return to Gloucestershire with all three points, City can hold their heads high with the performance they showed. Playing with this heart should be rewarded with results, hopefully starting on Tuesday night when City travel to Bishops Cleeve.
Team – Antony Hall, Josh Clayman, Will Heavey (Bruce McPhail 56), Elvis Defreitas, Jamie Thoroughgood, Ben Rayner (Antony Bridgeman 67), Ben Walshe, Jack Guilford, Omari Hibbert (Kevaugn Ward 56), Pat Cox, Dom Ogun.
Unused subs – Will Dukes, Lance Banton-Brown.
Yellow cards: Jack Guilford, Will Heavey
Referee – Christopher Wade
Attendance – 73