Taunton Town (2) 2, Guildford City (0) 3
By Barry Underwood
What a great night to be a Guildford City supporter! Goodness knows there has been little to cheer this season but memories of magnificent away nights at Bishops Cleeve and now Taunton will live very long in the memory of those City fans present. Similar to the recent narrow defeats against Mangotsfield and Didcot this was a much improved performance but it seemed that, as in those games, our performance was going to be unrewarded.
Playing up a fairly pronounced slope running the length of the pitch in the first half, City came under considerable pressure from the home side’s long ball game. Time after time the ball came over the top, and time after time City’s well organised backline caught Taunton’s eager strikers offside. There were scares of course.
In the opening minute Elvis Defreitas’s back header was intercepted but the chance was missed. After a fast break on 11 minutes Chris Young shot just wide, and on 20 minutes the same player headed just over from an in swinging corner. Indeed a feature of the home side’s attacking play in the first half was the quality of their set pieces. On 29 minutes City had a great opportunity to open the scoring. Joel Greaves headed down a cross and Nuno Pereira’s close range effort lacked power and was blocked by Perry in the home goal.
A minute later Guildford were made to pay for this profligacy when, breaking at the other end, Jamie Price put the home side ahead, shooting in via the post. It was seemingly important not to concede again before the interval. A fine Antony Hall save kept the home side out once, but right on the stroke of half-time Hall was only able to parry a cross shot which was tucked home by Ross McNab.
Half-time: Taunton Town 2, Guildford City 0
As at Didcot, City were a different side in the second period and within a minute Nuno Pereira was bundled over in the box and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Ben Walshe but his penalty was comfortable saved low down. On 53 minutes the focus turned to the match officials. After several typically robust challenges from Elvis Defreitas, Taunton’s Chris Young took exception, running at Defreitas from behind and wrestling him to the ground.
A red card seemed clear cut and everybody in the ground were surprised when ultimately both players were shown yellow. Back to the football and Dammy Bada was looking increasingly impressive with his penetrating runs down the left flank. On 70 minutes City came within a whisker of getting on the score sheet. Joel Greaves, now pushed out to the left, cut in and let fly an absolute pile driver that glanced over via the crossbar.
Finally on 83 minutes the hardworking Jordan Taylor fed Dom Ogun and his 30 yard effort dipped just inside the post with Perry well beaten. Guildford were already dominating proceedings but having got on the score sheet they noticeably upped their game. A minute later Jamie Thoroughgood headed wide from Bada’s cross, and as the game entered added time Nuno Pereira was denied on the goal line by a magnificent last ditch tackle.
On 90+1 City were laying siege to the Taunton goal and they were rewarded when Dammy Bada fed Jamie Thoroughgood on the edge of the box who coolly curled a shot into the top corner. Having equalised in stoppage time nobody would have criticised the visitors for shutting up shop. Credit though to Kev Rayner who was audibly urging his players forward once more.
Then fantastically on 90+3 Joel Greaves found space on the left from where his resulting cross was headed in by the diving Nuno Pereira. There was still three more added minutes and several corners to withstand but when the whistle finally blew to confirm victory there were unrestrained scenes of joy amongst the players and small group of travelling supporters. Indeed at the final whistle Mrs Underwood insisted on hugging a good number of the City players and didn’t seem to mind that they were as she later said “sweaty”!
Team: Antony Hall, Bruce McPhail, Dammy Bada, Elvis Defreitas, Jamie Thoroughgood, Jordan Taylor, Nuno Pereira, Ben Walshe (sub 66), Joel Greaves, Don Ogun, Callum Attwood (Joe Thoroughgood 75).
Unused Subs: Dida Alsaffar.
Yellow card: Elvis Defreitas
Red card: Nil
Referee: Mark Derrien
Attendance – 122
Match Photographs are Here
Post Match Interviews
With Manager Kev Rayner here
With Defender and equalising goalscorer Jamie Thoroughgood here
With Goalscorer Dom Ogun & striker Joel Greaves here