Guildford City 0 – 0 Bookham

ANOTHER two points passed Guildford by in this contest as City yet again dominated their opponents without scoring the killer goal.  The talking point of the game was undoubtedly a perfectly good freekick from Harrison Carnegie which hit the target but was disallowed by the referee for reasons we could not fathom.  This was compounded by yet another sending off for Tommy Tydeman.  With Wembley and Chessington drawing their encounter the City fans will feel a huge opportunity has been missed.  This result makes the away game against Cobham on Easter Monday all the more important.

There was a disappointing turn-out for this match, largely due to the miserable, overcast weather.  However there was yet again a good attendance from the City fans – a number of students coming back from their Easter break to watch another of City’s must-win games.  Mr Plested was here once again to lend his expertise on the microphone whilst my friend Tom had brought his dad along for an afternoon of footballing ‘entertainment’.

Guildford started the match very much as they would end it – the better side.  Within the first ten minutes Harrison Carnegie had tested the keeper with a header whilst at the other end, a good attack from Bookham had won the visitors a corner which was easily cleared by the Guildford defence.  In the 16th minute City wasted another good chance by heading over the bar before Lance Bantom-Brown – obviously playing with renewed confidence after his first goal of the season on Tuesday night – beat the offside trap but was tackled just before he could pull the trigger.  Guildford were looking solid at the back with Corey Knight bombing down the wing at every opportunity and Tommy Tydeman providing his usual, robust defensive performance.  Unfortunately having impressed my friend’s dad with tales of Tommy’s ability he then had a defensive lapse in the 24th minute and did well to recover enough to force his opponent into shooting wide.  Three minutes later came another City attack as Lance did some excellent work down the left wing and crossed to Harrison.  Unfortunately the ball was intercepted by Bookham striker, Alex McGregor who powered down the pitch and crossed onto the head of Mark Jarman.  Thankfully Jack Smelt held the shot well.

This interlude aside, Guildford continued to press their opponents – Graham Tydeman delivering a fabulous cross into the box in the 28th minute which the keeper could not keep hold of – however, not for the last time, there was no-one there to take advantage.  Seven minutes later another good chance arrived after the ever impressive Danny Elgar fired in an inch perfect cross into the box, finding Carnegie.  Unfortunately, caught on his wrong foot, Harrison could only spoon a weak shot wide of the far post.  Still the chances came – Lance trying another long range effort which went close – before Ben Rayner accidentally caught a player in the ankle five minutes from half time, leading to him being treated on the pitch and Bookham winning a freekick which they fired straight into the mitts of Smelt.  The visitors had another opportunity after Knight gave away a freekick on the byline for handball.  Luckily the resulting kick went behind.  Surprisingly the referee played no stoppage time, despite the treatment required by the Bookham player – this should have served as a warning for further mystifying decisions later on.

Half time provided its usual opportunity for beer and conversation in the clubhouse and a chance to reflect on some of the more amusing happenings in the stands.  The highlights included a huge hoof into row Z by Tommy Tydeman and ‘Moaning’ Tone yelling out ‘we play on the green stuff Tom!’ and then the world premier of what is fast becoming a terrace favourite – ‘Tony’s magic hat!!’  Oh yes and I nearly forgot, ‘Book ‘em’ being yelled out for any and every possible infraction by the opposition – why is that considered so funny?!

Back we came for the second and half and there was more of the same for the long-suffering City fans.  In the 51st minute came the most controversial incident of the game – Guildford won a freekick centrally, about 25yards from the Bookham goal and the referee said to Harrison Carnegie, ‘take it when you’re ready’ (this is no hearsay – the ref actually confirmed this to Kevin Rayner afterwards).  Accordingly Harrison took the kick while the ref was pacing in the box and the ball flew into the net, off the inside of the post.  A goal surely?!! No! The ref disallowed it and incredibly booked Carnegie.  Several corners then followed for luckless City – the ball being dropped once again by the keeper before being cleared for the first and then appeared to be handballed for the second.  Nothing was given.

More chances followed, all of them spurned.  In the 58th minute another excellent cross just missed Lance’s head before Harrison tore into the box once again and unleashed a ferocious drive which had to be palmed over the bar with an impressive acrobatic save by Bookham keeper, Paul Chapman.  In the 71st minute Moore shot well wide after being set up by some impressive play from Harrison and Lance before yet another dangerous cross, this time from Harrison was held by the keeper.  Incredibly, the attacks continued, still with no substantive response from the visitors who seemed content to play the game out for an away point.  In the 89th minute a superb piece of skill by substitute Aneel Azeem enabled him to keep an apparently unrecoverable ball in play and win a corner; yet the ball was cleared almost immediately and at last Bookham were on the attack – powering down the pitch but luckily for City, Jarman’s point blank header from a pin point cross went over the bar.

The match was now into stoppage time but there was still time for Tommy Tydeman to earn himself a straight red card after kicking out at an opponent who had delivered a crunching (and definitely illegal) tackle on him.  His opponent, needless to say, got nothing.  The match concluded with yet more chances for City – Harrison going through once more but shooting wide before a corner won by Lance came to nothing.  Third draw in a row – let’s hope they can pick up all three points against Cobham on Monday.

GUILDFORD CITY: J. Smelt; G. Tydeman; C. Knight; T. Tydeman; C. Moore;
J. King; S. Sheppard (sub A. Azeem, 72); B. Rayner (sub A. Simeone, 45); L. Banton-Brown; H. Carnegie; D. Elgar (sub E. Massey, 82)

Subs not used: P. Gough

BOOKHAM: P. Chapman; S. Currie; O. Dicks; R. Hartt; S. Padgett; M. Reed (sub D. Carnotta, 62); R. Gridley; J. Piercey; M. Jarman; A. McGregor (sub J. van Gelder, 73); W. Ramsey

Subs not used: J. Griffin; G. Mandeville