Guildford City 0 – 5 Banstead Athletic

THERE are two reasons why this match report is particularly short . Firstly, and most obviously, this was an abject display by Guildford City, on a par with some of our most disastrous games in the traumatic 2006/7 season. Secondly I was not actually at the match having (sensibly as it turned out) decided to go and visit my aunt in Brighton – and no Matt it was not for any other reason! To get around this problem I had the idea of getting Matt Brown and anyone else who wanted to join in, to do a match commentary into Chris’s Dictaphone. The results have been ‘interesting’ amid the profanities, despair and lewd (possibly libellous) allegations about what I like to get up to in my spare time, some (and I repeat some) useful information was recorded. However I need to give the rider right now that the account which follows is a) liable to inaccuracies, where information is missing and I have inserted the most probable data and b) will unavoidably be the product of the disturbed minds of a group of mildly insane (and probably drunk) students. And Lofty.

It is fair to say that this season has already been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for City supporters. After a creditable 2-2 draw at Chessington & Hook on the first day of the season, there was the shock of a comprehensive 4-0 thumping at the hands of Epsom & Ewell on our own patch, followed by the bad tempered encounter at Frimley which resulted in City being dumped out of the FA Cup. Just when Guildford fans were starting to fear the worst for their team and eyeing the Combined Counties League Division One with a touch of anxiety, our club then did the cruellest thing possible. They won. Suddenly the future was bright, City had shaken off the problems of their first couple of games and would now put together a run of wins propelling them into the stratospheric reaches of the league table, starting with a straight-forward home win against Banstead. Dear oh dear oh dear….

To be fair to them, City did not start the game particularly badly by all accounts, matching their opponents but failing to eke out any real chances. This was all the more laudable given the large number of players out injured or otherwise unavailable for selection. However things took a turn for the worst in the 12th minute when Michael Corbett, the Banstead striker, controlled a long ball near the edge of the City penalty area and deposited it into the back of the net. This was a setback, but it need not have been a terminal one, indeed Guildford went on to forge several chances. In the 21st minute Aneel, following another one of his trademark jinking runs, sent a rocket towards the Banstead goal which was deflected for a corner. This came to nothing but there were more chances on the way. Nine minutes later Guildford won a freekick on the edge of the Banstead area, which led to a corner, but unfortunately Craig Duffell could only head the resulting delivery over the bar. City’s luck declined further when the star of the game against Egham, Greg Levene, had to come off with an injury, being replaced by Charles Emery (‘let’s hope he gets the rub of the green’ said Moaning Tone when Charles made his debut on Tuesday. Comic genius!) The fight was rapidly draining out of the home side and as if to grind salt into the wound, Banstead scored twice more before halftime: Kev Terry, the bain of City’s existence in both games last season, striking again with another clinical finish in the 38th minute. This was followed by the coup de grace, applied by Craig Leworthy almost on the stroke of half time to give the visitors an apparently unassailable 3-0 lead.

Sunning myself on the beach in Brighton, rubbing coconut oil onto my rugged yet statuesque physique and congratulating myself on the way my sun glasses co-ordinated perfectly with my swimming costume, I knew nothing of the horrors being visited on my beloved club. There had been no texts of any goals (something I had explicitly asked Matt Brown to send me) and when I called in at halftime I expected plenty of cause for optimism. ‘We’re three nil down’ said Matt Howell, the news hitting me like a thunderbolt and causing some unwelcome wrinkles on my forehead. There was a ray of light though (for me at least), West Brom were all over Everton and although they hadn’t scored yet, the BBC commentator assured listeners that it wouldn’t be long in coming. Back at the Spectrum the tannoy team were having a few problems with their equipment. Switching on the radio to get the football scores, Eddie didn’t realise that the garbled voices and wall of static he was listening to was also being broadcast around all 4 corners of the ground. Meanwhile Ian’s attention was caught by Brian the kit man standing next to a tree. The tree then proceeded to (in Ian’s words) ‘give birth’ to a javelin, a football and a football player….! Drugs, Ian – Just Say No!!

The second half kicked off and it was plain that the morale of the players had taken a serious hit. The club captain, Andy Wylde, was at least trying to inject some fight into the proceedings, although he earned a booking for it in the 57th minute. Ten minutes later Guildford almost got on the score sheet but as with the previous home game, luck was not with them and a header cannoned back off the crossbar. It was almost an act of cruelty when Kieron Wallace tapped the ball over the line to record Banstead’s 4th goal of the day, the chance coming after Jay had saved an incoming cross from the right hand side. The Guildford keeper really started to come into his own as City’s resolve crumbled and the shots started raining in – more than once he was on hand to stop the visitors from increasing their lead. At the other end Simon Sheppard was doing his best to help his side record their first Spectrum goal of the season, although with the ball being lumped up to him by City’s over-stretched defenders, he was struggling. To his credit though he managed two one-on-ones with the keeper, his first shot being deflected to the far post and then blazed over the bar by one of his team-mates and his second drifting wide of the far post. The game clearly belonged to Banstead though, and they put their seal on it in the 81st minute when Joe Loyza chalked another strike following a freekick. The scoreline could have been much worse but for a goal-line clearance by Charles Emery and a piledriver over the City bar by Terry Edmead when it really would have been easier to score.

No rational person would support a football club if they knew beforehand the pain and misery it would cause. My melancholy was made complete when I learned that West Brom had also capitulated at home, this time by a slightly more respectable 2 goals to 1. I only just resisted the temptation to drown myself in a candy floss machine.

GUILDFORD CITY: J. Gindre; K. Philpott; S. Coyle; S. Pothecary (sub Pat McGubbin, 84); A. Wylde; D. Dunning (sub D. Rice, 52); M. Martin; G. Levene (sub C. Emery, 32); C. Duffell; S. Sheppard; A. Azeem

Subs not used: None

BANSTEAD ATHLETIC: S. Windegaard; J. Hemmings; E. Cornwell; P. Westren; N. Woodbridge; A. Simeone; J. Loyza; C. Leworthy; M. Corbett; K. Terry (sub T. Edmead, 75); M. Torino (sub A. Dickens, 44)

Subs not used: E. Cornwell; J. Mitchell; D. Leworthy