Molesey (0) 2, Guildford City (3) 3
Wow! Guildford City followed up their impressive midweek performance at South Park with another on Saturday at promotion chasing Molesey. During the morning of the match the prospect of achieving a good result looked slim. Regular goalkeeper Antony Hall had withdrawn during the morning and it wasn’t until the squad assembled at Walton Road that a replacement was “found”. The man who stepped up to fill the Number one position was Anthony Baker, who is normally a striker, and kit man Brian Crane was despatched to the nearest sports shop to buy some goalkeeper gloves.
The normally free-scoring home side were stunned by City’s impressive opening and in the very first minute Stefan Joseph almost latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the area. Seconds later the same player drove into the box impressively but delayed his shot too long. On five minutes Guildford deservedly took the lead. Bruce McPhail’s long throw was touched on by Carlton Murray-Price and strike partner Stefan Joseph was on hand to slam the ball home. Guildford were looking likely to score at every opportunity and on seven minutes Joseph was given the ball in the left channel. His low cross found Carlton Murray-Price 12 yards out from goal and he guided the ball home with his second touch. It was almost three before quarter of an hour was up on the clock when home keeper Liam Allen failed to hold the ball under pressure but on this occasion Murray-Price was unable to put his effort on target.
As Molesey settled they enjoyed the greater bulk of possession. Anthony Baker got down well at the near post to save and both Matt Baxter and Tom Windsor missed presentable chances. It wasn’t all one way though. On 32 minutes Stef Joseph pulled the ball back from the by-line and Tommy Degiorgio’s effort was well saved by Allen. For the home side Baxter came within inches of adding to his 15 goals this season but his header hit a post and glanced wide. Shortly before the interval though it was City who was to score again. Ray Guilford was brought down in the box as he challenged for Tommy Degiorgio’s free kick, and up stepped Carlton Murray-Price to net from the spot.
Starting the second half facing a three goal deficit, it was always likely that Molesey would come out looking for an early goal to get back into the game. By the same token Guildford were determined not to allow the home side back into the match and the early stages of the half were increasingly feisty. When Tom Penson was shown a second yellow for a late challenge it looked as if City might be facing an uphill task. However those who might have doubted City’s spirit were proved wrong as they constantly closed and battled to prevent the home side getting a toehold back into the match. On 71 minutes numbers were evened up when Molesey’s Matt Baxter was shown a straight red for a poor challenge and with the extra space on the pitch the match started to flow from end to end. On 74 minutes Guildford had a great chance to clinch the match. Bruce McPhail’s pass saw Murray-Price through on goal but somehow indecision set in and the chance went without a shot on goal. Two minutes later you wondered if City might be made to pay when Molesey converted a chance at the far post for 3-1.
Predictably this lifted the home side and just after hitting the crossbar they netted again on 89 minutes; this time Stafford Palmer firing home. Would City hold out for their third win of the season? Deep in injury time Carlton Murray-Price had another good opportunity to settle affairs but seconds later the Sweeney’s sizeable travelling support had plenty to celebrate when the whistle blew to bring the game to a close after a nail biting climax. Full credit to the Guildford City team for rolling up their sleeves and achieving a result against the odds, and full credit to Anthony Baker, the stand-in keeper, who’s superb handling and speed off his line gave his hard working defence a great lift.
Team: Anthony Baker, Elvis Defreitas, Jordan Phillips (Ryan Wallis 82), Tom Penson, Ray Guilford, Ben Rayner (Khari Oriogun 60), Sam Spencer, Bruce McPhail, Carlton Murray-Price, Stefan Joseph, Tommy Degiorgio. Unused sub: George Baker.
Referee: Chris North