Badshot Lea (3) 4, Guildford City (0) 1
Guildford City departed Shawfield Road last evening a bruised and somewhat dispirited side following a comprehensive defeat by Badshot Lea. Just five days previously officials, players and supporters had departed Raynes Park hugely satisfied by a battling victory. Then suddenly in the last two matches City’s defence has conceded eight goals where previously in defence they had impressed. In many ways this was a strange game. For much of the first half City had considerable possession and passed the ball around well, and as the watching Aldershot Town joint founder Graham Brookland commented “The way Guildford have been playing you would never think they were 3-0 down.” And that was the case. Two shots and two goals, and a free kick that went over the defence and bounced into the net! Whilst City at the other end had moments in the home side’s box but just seemed not to want to pull the trigger.
The opening goal came after just five minutes, Dan Turner finding himself in acres of space to slide the ball home from close range. But after that setback Guildford settled and enjoyed good possession. Dan Stewart had a long range effort comfortably saved by Ashley West, and on several subsequent occasions City had the ball in threatening positions but their attempts at intricate passing in tight situations, rather than shoot on sight, frustrated manager and fans alike. On 35 minutes Dan Turner showed the visitors how to finish as somewhat against the run of play he found space on the right to shoot powerfully into the corner. To compound Guildford’s frustration Badshot scored a third on 39 minutes, a routine 40 yard free kick going over the heads of the defensive line and bouncing into the corner of the net.
Guildford started the second half in a positive mood and within minutes of the restart Anthony Baker and Dan Stewart combined to get a shot in on goal that was deflected wide. Minutes later Dan Stewart rounded the Badshot keeper but his effort from a very acute angle was cleared off the line by Callum Nimmo; Rory Cornelius’s effort from the resulting loose ball was then pushed over the crossbar by West. In a further period of pressure Cornelius just couldn’t get the ball down in time and his powerful shot when it came was charged down at close range. It seemed that with a little luck there just might be a chance of a comeback. Sadly those hopes were shattered when young Alex Harris misjudged a long range effort that crept inside the post.
As the game entered its latter stages the home side started to find more gaps in the visiting defence and Gavin Muir in particular revelled in the extra space. City did get a lucky break on 76 minutes. The pacy Kiyanu Pillay was brought down on the edge of the box and after consultation the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Kris Campbell stepped up but his effort was spectacularly saved by the diving Ashley West. On 80 minutes Dan Stewart scored a consolation when he broke free of the defence to fire home for his 11th goal in 14 appearances. Late on Badshot Lea could have extended their lead but Alex Harris saved well on three occasions. In the final moments the home side’s Zac Hawker, described in the home programme as “robust”, was dismissed for stamping and certainly several City players left the ground feeling the effects of earlier encounters with the same player.
Team: Alex Harris, Jordan Taylor, Bruce McPhail, Myles Jones, Tadej Venta, Jack Collins (Florin Ramizi 67), Rory Cornelius (Ishmael Erskine 67), Luke Simmonds, Dan Stewart, Anthony Baker (Kiyanu Pillay 60), Kris Campbell.
Referee: Gareth Mays