On a wet and slate grey day, City fell to a disappointing defeat at fellow strugglers Thatcham Town. After heavy overnight rain the Waterside Park pitch was the subject of two Saturday morning pitch inspections.
In truth the pitch come kick-off time was in excellent condition given the amount of rain, and did little to effect the outcome of the match. Having shown improved form in recent weeks City did open brightly and in the opening minutes earned an attacking free-kick and two corners. Indeed Darren Stapleton’s galloping run into space down the left looked set to cause the home defence difficulties but sadly his sliced effort drifted over the crossbar.
On 16 minutes the home side had their first attempt on goal when Shaun Wimble blazed well wide from a free-kick. Minutes later 18 year old debutant Sam Spencer and Dom Ogun linked well to create an opening. With the goal seemingly at his mercy Ogun chose to pass and the chance was lost. Anthony Bridgeman’s low shot was comfortably saved and on 26 minutes Sam Spencer netted from a through ball but was judged marginally offside. At this stage it was hard to contemplate a City defeat. Then against the run of play the opposition scored from a corner to take the lead. The City defence, perhaps missing the aerial dominance of Jamie Thoroughgood, failed to deal with Gareth Thomas’s powerful header.
On 40 minutes Sam Spencer spun neatly on the edge of the box, forcing Rob Durrant into a diving save. Minutes later Darren Stapleton lost the ball cheaply in midfield, causing Toby Nowell to break on the right. Cutting in his low effort hit the post, only for Carl Evans to convert as the loose ball ran across the box. With their tails up Thatcham surged forward, but against the run of play Guildford got themselves back in the game from the penalty spot; Darren Stapleton converting after Ben Rayner was brought down.
Half time – Thatcham Town 2 – 1 Guildford City
With the momentum of having scored on the cusp of the interval, hopes were high amongst the travelling Sweeney that City would kick-on and take the game to the visitors. Sadly though during the second period Guildford failed to spark. With the weather deteroriating, City’s game started to go the same way, and try as they might they struggled to put passes together and until late in the game they failed to threaten the home goal.
There was still hope of course just being one goal behind, but after 66 minutes Thatcham scored a third to effectively clinch the match. The goal was credited to Carl Evans but his 20 yard effort took a wicked deflection to loop up into the corner of the net with Antony Hall stranded. Late in the game Sam Spencer saw a low shot deflected wide after keeper Durrant failed to hold a free-kick, and Jack Guilford’s glancing header was turned round the post by Durrant. Sadly though it was an uninspiring second half performance from City, in a game they would have been looking to have got something from the match.
Team: Antony Hall, Dammy Bada, Omari Hibbert (Kevaugn Ward 61), Bruce McPhail, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner (Danny Williams 90), Darren Stapleton, Jack Guilford, Sam Spencer (Jordan Taylor 76), Anthony Bridgeman, Dominic Ogun. Unused subs: Ryan Wallis, Aaron Hennessy.
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Maurice Taylor
Attendance – 65