Guildford City’s officials, players and supporters endured a nervy last twenty minutes at the Spectrum last evening as Cove fought back from a three goal deficit in spirited fashion. Thankfully for City, lady luck was looking kindly upon them and in the 84th minute when Jake Maddox, the Cove keeper, had a kicked clearance charged down, nerves were calmed when the ball fell kindly for Dan Stewart to restore City’s two goal advantage. It was Cove in fact who opened the game the brighter, playing like the championship contenders they were for so long this season, and City were fortunate not to concede. Julian Sills was just unable to reach a challenging low ball across the six yard box, whilst Anthony Baker was called into defensive action heading off the line from a corner. As the game progressed though City grew visibly in confidence. Rory Cornelius and Kiyanu Pillay began probing on the flanks and on 32 minutes Cornelius worked a shot on goal after cutting in from the right. Minutes later Jake Baxter for Cove broke into space but his early shot under pressure cleared the crossbar. The first goal of the evening came on 39 minutes. A threatening run from Pillay on the left saw him cut in before feeding Dan Stewart on the edge of the box. A touch to set himself was followed by a thumping effort that screamed into the net, giving Maddox no chance. City could, and should, have made it two almost immediately. Anthony Baker found space in the box and as the defence melted away there was momentary confusion between Baker and Rory Cornelius as to who was going to shoot and the chance was lost. There was still time for one more chance before the break; Kiyanu Pillay’s overhead kick just clearing the crossbar.
Both sides probed in the early stages of the second period without getting a clear sight of goal. Then suddenly with 25 minutes remaining the goal fest commenced! Firstly from a corner Anthony Baker rose like a salmon to head powerfully home. Five minutes later Jack Collins astute ball found Dan Stewart who worked space brilliantly to drill a low shot into the corner beyond the despairing Maddox. All of a sudden City were leading 3-0 and in the stands at least there was an air of relaxation. Of course though this is Guildford City, the side who earlier in the season coughed up numerous leads. Within two minutes of going three up Cove scored what seemed a consolation when Steve Duff hooked the ball in from close range. Five further minutes on, after 77 minutes, it was definitely game on when City’s defence failed to clear and despite an initial save from Alex Harris, Jake Baxter was on hand to convert for the visitors to bring the score back to 3-2. Nerves were now jangling and with Cove building momentum a comeback seemed on the cards. Fortunately for Guildford Dan Stewart’s late goal from the charge down settled the nerves a little, although in stoppage time Cove still managed to hit the woodwork, and also chip the ball over the crossbar from a one on one opportunity.
With one game remaining City have pulled themselves clear of the bottom three for the first time in months. Their Premier division future lies in their own hands and a win at Mole Valley on Saturday will guarantee safety. The final match of the season is probably Guildford City’s biggest game for years and a large travelling support is expected to support the team in their quest.
Team: Alex Harris, Jordan Taylor, Bruce McPhail, Jack Collins, Tadej Venta, Kris Campbell, Rory Cornelius, Luke Simmonds, Dan Stewart (Myles Jones 84), Anthony Baker, Kiyanu Pillay. Unused subs: Ishmael Erskine, Florin Ramizi, Josh Everard.
Referee: Shelby Elson
Attendance – 105