Bedfont Sports (1) 4, Guildford City (1) 2
by Barry Underwood
And so the season ended. I would have liked to have said it was on a warm summery evening but it wasn’t and there had in fact been a snow shower just prior to kick-off. Not that there was anything cold about Guildford’s start to the match. It was lively and quite possibly City’s best first-half performance since Steve Dormer’s appointment as manager in the autumn. But typifying Guildford’s season this was a game of missed chances, defensive errors and inspired opposition play. As early as the second minute Greg Haydon saw a header saved by the diving Sam Szymrzyk, whilst the City midfield players busied themselves picking up loose balls in the middle of the park and embarking upon another period of probing possession. After eight minutes Marlon Pinder glanced a header just wide from a Kiye Martin cross. In a period of sustained pressure around the quarter hour Pinder again came mighty close to scoring. This time Pinder’s goal bound header from Kiye Martin’s free-kick was saved point blank by Szymrzyk who acted out of reflex. A minute later Miguel Anderson’s header across goal was met by Pinder whose shot on the turn was blocked at full stretch. After relentless pressure City then gained their just reward when Robbie Mundow wriggled past several defenders to shoot low into the corner from 16 yards. Minutes later the Sweeney behind the goal clearly felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Pinder was seemingly knocked off the ball when following in Martin’s free-kick. Jake Downs also saw a glancing header saved before on 35 minutes calamity befell the City goalkeeper and out of nowhere the scores were level. A modest shot from outside the box somehow squirmed under the keeper’s body, whilst everyone was anticipating a long clearance kick down the pitch. This goal changed the nature of the match and just prior to the interval the impressive Darryl Sanders raced away to blaze a powerful effort just over the crossbar.
City also opened the second-half in fine fashion with a Bobby Dormer effort forcing Szymrzyk into a diving save. Minutes later Tom Booth ran into space before unleashing a 30 yard effort that brushed the outside of the post. There then followed perhaps the games defining moment when Kiye Martin’s strong run into the box saw him go down under heavy pressure. There were strong City appeals for a penalty that were waved away by the referee. From this point Bedfont started to get on top and City’s defence was suddenly opened up with alarming ease. Ex-City player Jacob Lambe shot home after 59 minutes from Sanders pass, and minutes later City’s stand-in keeper was forced to tip another effort from Lambe onto the post. City still had considerable possession but they were finding it harder to make inroads into the Bedfont defence. Despite this City did draw level on 65 minutes when Evan Lopes had space at the back post to rifle a shot home from eight yards. Disappointingly when there was all to play for, Guildford were forced onto the defensive in the closing stages and on 71 minutes Bedfont nudged ahead again. In a by now rare attack Dan Akinwande’s cross was nearly deflected by a defender into his own net, and from the resulting corner Bobby Dormer’s header was well saved by Szymrzyk. With ten minutes remaining Matt Riggs scored an exceptional long range goal to clinch the match for the home side, and to rub City’s noses in it Bobby Dormer was dismissed for a second yellow card. Deep in stoppage time Evan Lopes saw a dipping long range effort just clear the crossbar, but the overriding thought from the watching Sweeney before they disappeared away into the night was just how many times this season have City’s performances warranted more reward than was achieved.
Team: Denny Cooke, Chris Tancock, Tom Booth (Dan Akinwande 70), Jake Downs, Greg Haydon, Bobby Dormer, Kiye Martin (Matt Brown 70), Robbie Mundow, Marlon Pinder, Miguel Anderson (Tom Bingham 64), Evan Lopes. Unused sub: Nhoj Witter.
Referee: Michael Hayden