Guildford City (0) 0, Stratford Town (0) 1
By Barry Underwood
City went down to a heart-breaking defeat against Stratford Town when they conceded what proved to be the winning goal in the 88th minute. A much reinforced City side including Tom Penson, Jack Guilford and Scott Todd played with plenty of spirit, and with Matt Oldring playing in midfield the line-up had a strong and competitive core.
On six minutes City had their first sight of goal. A deep cross from Dammy Bada was headed back across goal by Jamie Thoroughgood but Yacine Gnahore slipped on the greasy surface and was unable to take the opportunity. The same player had a half chance after 12 minutes. A long clearance from Antony Hall found Andy White who won a challenge with the visiting keeper but Scott Todd was unable to get an early shot in from the loose ball.
Eventually the ball found Gnahore at the far post but his glanced effort came to nothing. Minutes later a similar Hall clearance saw White race away and went he went down in a challenge with Brady in goal, strong shouts for a penalty were waved away. On 27 minutes after a fine build up Matt Oldring put Dom Ogun into a shooting position but his 25 yard effort just cleared the crossbar. Stratford came mighty close two minutes later. Tyrone Fagan, looking suspiciously offside, broke free only to see his placed effort come back off the post and cleared. In the late stages of the first period both Scott Todd and Jack Guilford had powerful efforts charged down from the edge of the box, before a minute before the interval Stratford once again came within a whisker of taking the lead. A cross to the far post saw Chris Sterling heading the ball over Hall to the back post in text book fashion, only to see Matt Oldring slide in and clear off the line in spectacular fashion.
Half-time: Guildford City 0, Stratford Town 0
Stratford looked a little livelier in the second period and the game was still delicately balanced. City were certainly building attacks but were unable to carve out the final goal scoring opportunity. Subsequently both Yacine Gnahore and Matt Oldring saw long range efforts come to nothing. Finally Guildford managed to carve out a good goal scoring opportunity. A Hall clearance was flicked on by Andy White to Dom Ogun in space in the box but sadly he was unable to keep his volleyed effort down and his shot sizzled inches over the bar.
This spurred City into action and with the backing of a noisy Sweeney following City came close again. Firstly Jack Guilford worked his way to the by-line on the right and his low cross was turned just wide by White. Moments later Dom Ogun got to the by-line on the left but with two players free in the middle, Ogun delayed just long enough to see his pass blocked for a corner. It looked as if City might just snatch a winner and they went close again, when following some head tennis in the box, Jack Guilford’s overhead effort went just wide. On 85 minutes Stratford’s Richard Gregory broke into space but fortunately for City his attempted lob went straight into Antony Hall’s hands.
With the Sweeney thinking their side had earned a deserved point, City were not so lucky a second time. With two minutes left on the clock Matt Oldring was shepherding the ball across the edge of the box under pressure from Chris Sterling. Antony Hall came out to the claim the ball but it squirmed from his grasp to Sterling. His cross into the box was met by Richard Gregory who headed his 34th goal of the season into the empty net; almost certainly his easiest finish of the campaign. City’s bench were incandescent feeling that Hall had been clattered on the ground, but the match officials saw things differently and the goal stood. Heartbreak then at the end for Guildford with no reward from a sterling performance.
Team: Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas (Bruce McPhail 65), Dammy Bada, Tom Penson, Jamie Thoroughgood, Matt Oldring, Yacine Gnahore, Jack Guilford, Andy White, Scott Todd, Dom Ogun. Unused subs: Nuno Pereira, Alex Afful, Aaron Hennessy.
Yellow cards: Jack Guilford
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Stacey Woodley
Match Day Photos Here