Colliers Wood United (1) 2, Guildford City (3) 4
by Barry Underwood
Three times in the last eight days Guildford City has gone down to ten men, and against all of the odds they have on each occasion shown tremendous character and team spirit to achieve some incredible results. During the week despite having a player sent off with an hour still to play City beat Hanworth 3-1 in a fantastic team performance. The odds against something similar, and indeed surpassing that effort, were very high but that indeed is what happened at Wibbandune on Saturday. After an excellent first half performance City held a 3-1 first half advantage, soon pushed up to 4-1 immediately after the interval. Then with 40 minutes still to play came apparent calamity when debutant goalkeeper Nic Taylor was adjudged to have prevented a goal scoring situation and was shown a red card. After a team discussion the unlikely figure of Shay Morally went between the sticks and United’s prolific forward line must have been licking their lips at the prospect of making up the deficit. Morally immediately saved the resulting penalty and later pulled off two other top saves to go into City folklore, whilst once again every single player ran their blood to water for their team mates.
City opened the scoring after just eight minutes, Matt Anton’s pace taking him clear off the defence to slide the ball under the advancing Wester Young. Two minutes later and Matt Anton netted again, this time heading in from a corner and all of a sudden City was in the driving seat. On 23 minutes after a Guildford corner, referee William Davis saw an incident in the box and awarded a spot kick to the visitors. Sanchez Benali, in fine form of late, stepped up and coolly slotted home. Noticeably Colliers Wood rallied and began to threaten and Mario Embalo curled an effort just wide after 26 minutes. Minutes later Nic Taylor saved well with his legs against Embalo, and it wasn’t a real surprise when on 39 minutes Eli Ogunseye’s pace took him clear on the left giving him chance to shoot home from the angle.
Whilst some spectators were still taking their places after the restart City scored their fourth. Matt Anton crossed from deep on the left and Darren Caesar was in space in the box to head low into the corner against his former club. Just minutes later came the game’s defining moment which saw Nic Taylor’s dismissal. Down to ten men, including with a makeshift keeper, with the majority of the half to play meant it was time for players to put their hands up and play for the shirt. And how they did for the third time this week. Every man was a hero but Darryl Siaw and Martin Dynan at the heart of the defence, and Sanchez Benali for his inexhaustible skill and work rate are worthy of special mention. On one of the rare occasions that Morally was beaten a goal bound effort was spectacularly headed off the line by a back pedalling Darryl Siaw. With 15 minutes remaining Colliers Wood did hit the woodwork and seconds later Shay Morally made a quite magnificent one handed save to preserve City’s lead. As the game entered stoppage time Morally again made a fine save, this time with his feet, whilst at the other end Darren Caesar forced Wester Young into a fine save from a free-kick. Five minutes into added on time Vay Burke slotted into the corner for the home side but within moments the referee blew the final whistle to bring the curtain down on a quite extraordinary week for Guildford City.
Guildford City’s interviewer Ian spoke with manager Dean Thomas after the win, you can listen to the interview here.
Team: Nic Taylor, Harry Mills, James Davies, Darryl Siaw, Martin Dynan, Chad Goulter (Shay Morally 46), Sanchez Benali (Callum Sexton 67), Jack Battie, Matt Anton (Jack May 66), Tyrame Hemmings, Darren Caesar. Unused subs: David Koduah, George Patterson.
Referee: William Davis