Bedfont Sports (2) 4, Guildford City (2) 2
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City were the victims of a hugely controversial sending off decision after 48 minutes that understandably set them back on their heels against their title chasing opponents. David Burton was the highly unfortunate victim who picked up a career first red card for a coming together between two players that barely warranted a free-kick. The referee, alone amongst those in the stadium, saw it differently and judged the incident to be a last man foul and Burton had to make the long walk. This was the second time in three matches that a City player has been shown a red card in such controversial circumstances. Sadly cameras are not available at this level and we must accept the punishment. That said City management and players were incandescent at a decision that in reality ruined the match as a spectacle and put paid to City’s hopes of taking something from the match.
The first half had been highly entertaining, and in the match at large a combination of both sides saw six goals and the ball hit the woodwork a total of seven times. Indeed both sides hit the woodwork in the first 10 minutes. First on four minutes a long range effort from former Godalming star Scott Harris smashed against the bar and was scrambled clear. In return a fine ball from Josh Burrowes put Dan Stewart in space, and after cutting inside a defender his low effort hit the foot of the upright. It was a good half and play went from end to end. On 15 minutes Jordan Gallagher laid a ball back to Chris Tancock and the full-back’s low effort curled wide of the post. Minutes later a loose ball on the edge of the City box was thumped towards goal where it glanced off the top of the woodwork. In response a jinking Nathaniel Williams run led to him sliding the ball across the face of the box where Kiye Martin showed great composure to find space and curl an effort inches wide of the post. It had been a thrilling opening period but it didn’t come as a surprise when the home side took the lead. A ball was headed back across goal and Simo Mbonkwi smashed in the loose ball. Guildford settled after this setback and they deservedly equalised on 34 minutes. Nathaniel Williams timed a pass to Dan Stewart to perfection, and his early effort found the back of the net for his 16th goal of the campaign. Five minutes later and City were ahead. The impressive Bobby Dormer let fly from 25 yards and Rourke Pickford was unable to keep the ball from entering the net. Disappointingly the visitors weren’t able to hang on to their lead until the break. Luke Badiali made a fine save close in, but Scott Harris was on hand to turn the ball home to make the score 2-2 at the interval.
Three minutes after the restart City were down to 10 men when Dave Burton was shown red. This was a big blow against a top side playing on a big and fast pitch. Understandably they were knocked on their heels and three minutes later Bedfont hit the post. The relief was though temporary as a further minute later Jacob Lambe half volleyed into the corner. On the hour it became 4-2 when Jacob Lambe put an end to some ping pong by planting the ball again into the corner. Bedfont then hit the crossbar with a header and there were fears City would capitulate. Credit though to Guildford’s young side they didn’t give up the cause and the appearance of Evander Lopes off the bench certainly lifted the visitors. With 15 minutes remaining Bobby Dormer headed against the bar with the rebound dropping on the goal line elusively beyond Luke Beale. Luke Badiali twice saved well in the final stages, and there was still time for the woodwork to be struck by the home side. Just prior to the final whistle manager Chris Balchin was sent to the stand by the referee after the frustrations of the second-half got too much for him. Guildford must hope that when they face another title challenger next week they can keep the full 11 players on the pitch.
Team: Luke Badiali, Chris Tancock, Josh Burrowes, Luke Beale, David Burton, David Opuku (Robbie Mundow 74), Bobby Dormer, Kiye Martin, Dan Stewart (Miguel Anderson 82), Jordan Gallagher (Evander Lopes 65), Nathaniel Williams. Unused subs: Louie Downey, Shaun Johnson.
Referee: Alex Taylor-Rose