THIS was arguably Guildford’s most impressive result this season. In the nightmare situation of their manager having quit the day before and veteran goalkeeper, Dave Tidy called upon to assemble a team at less than 24 hours notice, City pulled out all the stops to show a workrate and a desire missing from many of their games this season. Although the scoreline could easily have been 5 or 6 nil in the first half, City came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to bag a well-deserved point against a side who would have gone top of the league had they won.
It has to be said that there were very few travelling supporters at this match. This had nothing to do with the plight of the club, it was just that everyone seemed to have prior commitments. I had a 30th birthday celebration in London (so needless to say this report is cobbled together from accounts of people who were there), meanwhile Mr Pegman was in Newcastle and the student contingent were either having to work or had gone home for the weekend. We all missed an excellent performance which gives real hope for City’s future in the league (and boy do we need that at the moment!)
It is fair to say that Bedfont Green had the better of the first half and the initial exchanges demonstrated why the Green are challenging near the top of the table this season. Within 18 minutes, the home side found themselves apparently sailing towards another home win – Russell Miner taking advantage of a now customary mix up in the Guildford defence to notch their first in the 13th minute, and then Chris Henry scoring a goal which looked several yards offside five minutes later. City, with a new sense of purpose under their fledgling manager were not prepared to lie down and let the home side run riot as they had at Colliers Wood, however. After the initial shock of being 2-0 down, they began to scrap and the back four particularly started to display discipline and organisation to limit Bedfont Green’s chances. This was not to say that the home side could not have scored more, indeed but for some woeful finishing and some good goalkeeping from Dave Tidy they could have extended their lead by several more goals. 2-0 it stayed though and in the dying minutes of the first half, Guildford won a freekick in the Bedfont Green half which was taken quickly. New addition, Matt Rothwell got to the ball first and powered into the box before being brought down by Lee Morley – one of the home side’s defenders – for a penalty. Craig Moore stepped up and confidently sent the ball beyond the Bedfont Green shot stopper, Lee Pearce, and suddenly Guildford had something to build on.
City started the second half with real purpose – possibly thanks to an inspirational teamtalk from their new manager? – and showed great team spirit to contain a side superior to them in many parts of the pitch. Inevitably Bedfont Green continued to dominate the play and Guildford once again could thank Dave Tidy for his superb skill between the sticks which frustrated the home side on more than one occasion. With 5 minutes to go, and Guildford appearing destined to be heroic losers, their luck changed – the visitors broke down the left and the impressive Matt Rothwell got in between two defenders to head home a perfectly flighted cross. City’s jubilation lasted only four minutes however, the home side finally recovering their finishing skills to notch what appeared to be the decisive goal – Chris Henry beating his marker and cutting it back for Aaron Samuel to make it 3-2.
After the week (and season) they had had, the visitors could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel at this point. They did not however – the team spirit which had brought them back from 2-0 down came to the fore again and in the dying minutes of stoppage time Tommy Ellis cracked a blinder of a shot from the edge of the area that hit the inside of the post and rocketed in. City were on cloud nine, the home side, needless to say, were gutted!