Guildford City (2) 2, Farnham Town (1) 3
by Barry Underwood
If ever there was a case of after the Lord Mayors show this was it. Fresh from their excellent victory at Walton & Hersham in midweek City would have entered this match in confident mood. Manager Chris Balchin was cautious prior to kick-off, in part due to having to make three changes from midweek with three leading players missing in the form of Nemo Adams, Luke Beale and Dan Stewart. From kick-off there was little between the sides. Darryl Siaw found space early on but his left foot shot curled over the bar. On 12 minutes City opened the scoring in what proved to be the first of three goals in four minutes. Ben Franklin fired in an excellent free-kick that Kieran Campbell swept home from eight yards out. Two minutes later Farnham responded with a great pass inside the full-back giving Nick Medcraft a one on one with the keeper and Medcraft finished with aplomb. Two further minutes in and City edged back ahead. Again it was a Franklin free-kick and Kieran Campbell was positioned at the far post to power home a header. The visitors looked far from a side in the lower reaches of the table, and a minute after going behind Ashley Peck blazed the ball wide from a good position. In a lively first quarter a Jordan Gallagher free-kick was half-saved by Adrian Giles and the loose ball ran across the face of goal with nobody able to give it a vital last touch. Good work by Darryl Siaw on the right saw him set up Louie Downey with a low cross just five yards from goal and the exciting young midfielder will be wondering himself how he managed to put the ball over the bar. It was by no means one way with Peck heading against the City crossbar, and minutes later Luke Badiali saving a curling corner kick onto the woodwork. Defensively the home side didn’t look at the races and Farnham saw another low cross zip right across the danger area. In the minutes leading up to the break Jordan Gallagher broke on the left and on cutting into the box he chose to square the ball instead of shoot, and the ball was cleared. Gallagher also had a half-chance in the box when he swung his foot at a heavy cross but he couldn’t make sufficient contact. At the interval it seemed clear that there were to be more goals in the game and that despite vulnerability at the back; City’s forward play would see them through to victory.
Sadly for City the second period, barring a lively final ten minutes, saw the home side largely withdraw into their shell. Conversely Farnham maintained their free-playing approach and after 51 minutes they drew level. There was in fairness an air of good fortune about the goal. Max Meaton’s shot from the edge of the box hit the foot of the post and rebounded into the net off of the back of the diving Luke Badiali. Six minutes later City fell behind for the first time. A powerful free-kick from 20 yards wasn’t held by Badiali and Elliot Cardona following in drove the ball home. Disappointingly City didn’t hit back with all guns blazing and aside from a volley from Nathaniel Williams that was blocked, there were few real attempts on the visitor’s goal. That is to say until the last ten minutes when Guildford rather belatedly sprung to life. From a corner the ball bounced out to the edge of the area where Kieran Campbell fired a half-volley bringing a fine save out of Adrian Giles. The rebound was smashed back to the goal by Sam Marks where Giles again did well to save. Farnham almost put the game to bed on 84 minutes when following an error they broke and it took a great interception by David Burton to prevent a goal. With three minutes remaining Kieran Campbell headed wide from six yards after seeing the ball late behind a defenders body, and a minute later Giles again saved acrobatically from Jordan Gallagher’s long range free-kick. Sadly for the home side the equaliser wouldn’t come but full credit to Farnham who claimed only their second league win of the season, which on this performance is hard to fathom.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Ben Franklin (Endrit Dobraj 70), David Burton, Tom Booth, Louie Downey, Darryl Siaw, Miguel Anderson (Nathaniel Williams 35), Kieran Campbell, Jordan Gallagher, Robbie Mundow (Sam Marks 75).
Referee: Marlon Williams
Attendance – 94