By Alice Curtis
A rampant first half from North Leigh ensured they left Surrey with all three points, as Guildford City suffered a humongous blow to their survival campaign. Kevin Rayner looked to strengthen the side that lost in midweek to Stratford Town, as captain Ben Walshe, Antony Bridgeman and a returning Joel Hughes were introduced to the starting eleven, however a clinical North Leigh side proved too strong for City. Guildford started well, and had the first chance of the game just three minutes in. Dominic Ogun whipped a free kick into the area that found Scott Todd’s head who propelled the ball just wide of goal.
But five minutes later North Leigh scored their first as a sublime through ball found Morgan Williams, and his low cross met captain Wayne Turk with a fine finish from eight yards. In the 14th minute North Leigh had their second after an acrobatic kick from Aaron Woodley took an unlucky deflection and travelled past Antony Hall.
Ben Walshe had a chance to pull one back for Guildford as his powerful free kick flew into the area but the strong effort flew into ‘keeper Adam McHugh’s arms. However a Conor McDonough double brought the visitor’s goal tally up to four with half an hour played. The first coming from a header on 25 minutes, and the second five minutes later after a good through ball from Aaron Woodley. The Oxfordshire side kept pressing for a fifth before half time and they got what they deserved in the 38th minute after Mark Bell saw his shot nestle in the net from the right hand side. Guildford had a couple of chances towards the end of the opening 45 minutes as Jamie Thoroughgood and Scott Todd both had commendable efforts saved, but the score line told the tale of the first half.
Half time Guildford City 0 North Leigh 5
Guildford, much like the first, started the second half brightly as substitute Yacine Gnahore’s great effort from 25 yards flew inches past the left post, before Dammy Bada and Joel Hughes both had attempts on goal saved. But after 50 minutes played, North Leigh played a flawless counter attack as Morgan Williams coolly finished a one on one, slotting the ball perfectly past Antony Hall.
Three minutes later, Mark Bell also showed composure when faced with only Hall to beat, scoring North Leigh’s seventh in what proved to be an emphatic score line. However Guildford didn’t want to go down without a fight. Andy White had the ball in the back of the net but was deemed offside, before substitute Nuno Pereira was agonisingly close on two occasions, having one effort cleared inches from the goal line and the other hitting the right post, which sadly summed up City’s awful afternoon.
An impressive victory for North Leigh whereas City fell to another set back in their relegation dog fight. The unfortunate league resignation from Thatcham Town now potentially sees only one club relegated, and having the character to bounce back from this at Tiverton next week may just be season defining,
Team: Antony Hall, Anthony Bridgeman, Dammy Bada, Matt Oldring, Jamie Thoroughgood (Nuno Pereira 66), Bruce McPhail, Dominic Ogun, Ben Walshe (Yacine Gnahore 45), Andy White, Joel Hughes, Scott Todd (Alex Afful 63).
Unused subs: Joe Thoroughgood, Aaron Hennessy
Yellow cards: Ben Walshe
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Guy Poynter
Attendance – 60
After the defeat to North Leigh, Ian Plested spoke to Guildford City’s manager Kevin Rayner. Listen to the interview here
Match Photographs are here