Guildford City’s mini revival came to an end at the Spectrum on Saturday going down 3-2 to an in form Hartley Wintney side. Neutrals watching their football at Guildford this year will not have been short of entertainment as amazingly this was the fourth occasion this season that the home side have lost by this score line. As so often this season City did not deserve to lose the game, but lack of concentration whilst dominating the match once again proved to be City’s downfall.
In truth the first half was a fairly bland affair with both sides probing without causing too many difficulties for the respective defences. Wintney’s Ross Cook did have the ball in the back of the net on 14 minutes but on that occasion, and numerous others in the first half, the visitor’s front line was adjudged offside. Minutes later Carlton Murray-Price forced Craig Atkinson into a diving save with a low effort from 30 yards, but it wasn’t until the 23rd minute that either side had a clear chance on goal. It was City who should have taken the lead. Sam Spencer’s defence splitting pass saw Navid Zandi run from the angle to nudge the ball past Atkinson. Sadly with the goal gaping Zandi under hit his shot and with the ball trickling towards the line the Wintney defence just managed to effect a last ditch clearance. As often is the case in football the team were made to pay for their profligacy, as three minutes later a fine piece of interplay up front gave Josh Drew the chance to shoot home under Lee Allen’s diving body. City did get back on level terms before the break and it was a moment of real quality. Murray-Price picked out Sam Spencer on the right. Running at the defence, he drilled a delightful ball across the edge of the six yard box. Khari Oriogun and a defender both slid in with neither making effective contact on the ball. Oriogun was the quickest to his feet and a deft back heel saw the home side on the score sheet.
The second half was a different affair. Guildford enjoyed the majority of the possession and territorial advantage and will thus be grossly disappointed they didn’t go on to win the match. On 51 minutes Navid Zandi saw a shot blocked following Sam Spencer’s pull back, but moments later the same player nudged City ahead. Carlton Murray-Price saw a long range curling effort hit the crossbar. Zandi’s effort from the rebound was blocked but offered another chance he drilled a low effort into the corner. Crucially within minutes the visitors were back level. Possession was lost cheaply in offence and with space in the left channel Josh Drew made hay advancing deep into City’s half. After cutting past Ray Guilford, Bruce McPhail slipped on the greasy surface, and Drew was able to smash the ball home unimpeded from the edge of the box. City responded in fine style. Sam Spencer – much more effective in a deeper role – cut in and curled a shot just over. On 64 minutes Carlton Murray-Price, who was guilty too often of holding the ball too long, twisted and turned on the edge of the box before once again seeing another effort clear the crossbar by inches.
It was very much against the run of play when the visitors scored what proved to be their winner on 73 minutes. There had been a warning though a minute before but on that occasion an isolated Bruce McPhail had pulled off a great tackle. On the second occasion Ross Cook got free of the City backline whereupon he rounded Allen to shoot home. For the last 15 minutes City streamed forward and as the clock wound down their play became increasingly anxious. On 75 minutes a threatening corner from Degiorgio was glanced wide by Jack Guilford, whilst Tommy Degiorgio rounded off a fine run into the box with a low shot that Atkinson saved with his legs. As the match edged towards stoppage time Jack Guilford’s half volley was tipped over at full stretch, and Murray-Price’s 30 yarder once again brought the best out of Atkinson. Deep in stoppage time the final chance fell to Murray-Price whose turn in the box gave him a shooting chance but his left foot effort failed to find the target.
Team: Lee Allen, Elvis Defreitas, Tommy Degiorgio, Bruce McPhail, Ray Guilford, John Symons (Anthony Bridgeman 80), Sam Spencer, Jack Guilford, Carlton Murray-Price, Khari Oriogun, Navid Zandi (Vences Bola 62). Unused subs: Ryan Wallis, Presley Mason.
Referee: Ryan O’Sullivan
Attendance – 102