Guildford City (2) 4, North Greenford United (0) 4
by Barry Underwood
Once again the spectators at the Spectrum witnessed a humdinger of an entertaining fixture and certainly there can be no qualms about the level of entertainment being served up this season. Sadly for City on this occasion the customary stoppage time goal went the way of the visitors, and from twice leading by two goals they succumbed to a late, late equaliser. City’s unbeaten run moves on to eight games, although this felt like a game lost. There is no denying however that this North Greenford side are much better than their league position suggests and in truth they deserved to pick up a share of the points. It was Guildford though who initially edged ahead. On six minutes Kiye Martin hooked the ball forward and a moment’s confusion in the Greenford defence gave debutant Mike Dixon the chance to slide the ball home into the empty net. Minutes later a great run to the by-line by Darryl Siaw saw him pull the ball back to Mario Embalo who had time to pick his spot before firing home. Greenford always looked lively going forward, but in the early stages it was Guildford who came closest to extending their lead. Kiye Martin sliced an effort wide, whilst Mike Dixon twice forced Greenford’s keeper Bailey Mulhall into action; the first effort being saved onto the post. City keeper Luke Badiali was also soon in action, saving well low down from the impressive Sandro Costa. After 26 minutes Darryl Siaw limped off which must have been a relief for the visitors as Siaw had tormented them down the left flank. The lively Mario Embalo shot over from a good position and then glanced a header wide, but as the half approached its conclusion it was Greenford that looked dangerous, especially with their willingness to shoot at every opportunity. The last opportunity of the half fell to City when the powerful Mike Dixon, who looked suspiciously offside, broke free but dragged his shot wide from an angle.
Last season City had a weakness for conceding just after the break and there were memories of this when following a corner Guy Ansah-Palmer bundled the ball home from close range. To City defenders Ansah-Palmer looked suspiciously offside but the match officials were having none of it. The visitors were encouraged by their goal and the rest of the match was played out with the ball going from end to end in entertaining fashion. Mario Embalo saw a low effort cannon back off the post, whilst immediately at the other end Luke Badiali displayed fine reactions to divert a deflection from a City defender. On the hour Greenford drew level. From another corner Jamal Velinor was on hand to convert following a goalmouth scramble. Having had their two goal lead pegged back the match was now in the balance. Not deterred by their defensive profligacy, Guildford went forward and within three minutes were two further goals ahead. First Dixon’s slide rule pass through the defence found the on-rushing Ibby Akanbi who crisply beat the keeper. Two minutes later Akanbi headed back across goal where Kiye Martin did splendidly to lay the ball back to Mario Embalo who twisted and shot home from eight yards. Having thrown away a two goal lead once, surely City wouldn’t do the same again? With 15 minutes remaining Greenford pulled a goal back via a fine individual effort from Sandro Costa. As the game entered its latter stages the nerves were evident amongst the City faithful. Mike Dixon put an early effort wide, before later having a shot blocked. Greenford meanwhile forced Badiali into a fine close range save, and then headed wide from a corner. It was the fifth minute of stoppage time when the visitors broke through for a final time. A high cross to the back of the penalty area found Nik Muller whose high looping header agonisingly found the net off of the far post.
Team: Luke Badiali, Greg Haydon, Jason Thompson, Bobby Dormer, Martin Dynan, Shawn Clement-Peter (Ibby Akanbi 61), Will Hoare, Kiye Martin (Jacob Lambe 80), Mike Dixon, Mario Embalo, Darryl Siaw (Tom Booth 26). Unused sub: Tom Bingham.
Referee: Mike Coen
Attendance – 109