Guildford City 1 – 0 Ash United

GUILDFORD gained revenge for their 3-0 humbling on Bank Holiday Monday with this welcome victory over local rivals Ash.  This was your typical local derby, short on skill but long on passion.  In the end it was City who displayed the greater endeavour, inching ahead just before half time thanks to a Luke Bradnick finish.  United looked dangerous in spells but just could not get the better of Guildford’s back four.  Unfortunately but inevitably the match concluded with yet another sending off – Harrison Carnegie succumbing to a second yellow card.

Kev Rayner had far more options for this match than he had had a week before – back into contention came Ben Rayner after a two match suspension, and also available were Elvis Defreitas and impressive striker Luke Simpson.  Unfortunately missing from the starting lineup was Danny Elgar who had somehow managed to drive down the M23 instead of the A3 when getting to the game.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, James Brown was in the car with him so he also missed the start (and complained that Danny drove like an old woman!)  Still with another game on Wednesday, perhaps a rest was no bad thing.

There was little to choose between the two sides for the first twenty or so minutes.  City were containing United well and when the visitors did break through – as they did on the quarter hour mark – were able to clear a dangerous cross to safety.  Ash started to turn the screw though, and won a series of corners on the 20 minute mark – the ball flying just wide of the post from the second delivery.  Luckily Guildford were able to clear their lines but a minute later United broke through again – the situation saved by a superb defensive header from Simon Cooper.

The home side regained their composure and would have scored in the 28th minute but for a brilliant reflex save by the feet of Arjuna “Fish” Adlam – the resulting corner flying just wide of the far post.  Five minutes later Jack Guilford used his pace and skill to good effect, winning a corner, but Ben Rayner’s delivery was easily cleared.  City were loath to let their momentum wane but a further corner in the 35th minute was easily plucked out of the air by Adlam.  United responded, winning a freekick some 30 yards out and the delivery bouncing awkwardly before Hall finally claimed it.  Back came Guildford though, winning a foul of their own and Ben Rayner firing in a delivery which two Guildford players just failed to connect with before it was claimed by Fish.  The Ash shot-stopper had no reply in the 42nd minute however – a superb, high looping cross from the left wing, finding the unmarked Luke Bradnick at the far post.  The City striker coolly stroked the ball home to much celebration from the sidelines and the stands.  Neither side made any meaningful attack before the referee below for halftime.

The second period was just as even and scrappy as the first.  Ash were struggling to handle Carnegie’s pace and he made a great run down the left wing in the 50th minute, delivering an excellent cross which just evaded a City head.  The visitors then enjoyed a period of dominance.  First Aaron Gough tried a speculative effort which flew well over the bar and then Lee O’Donnell fired a freekick straight into the mitts of Hall.  United striker Marcus Cousins was nearly put through in the 58th minute but he was dispossessed at the last moment by some excellent defending.  Guildford started to reassert themselves and could have made it 2-0 on the hour mark – Lance Banton-Brown heading wide at the near post from a Ben Rayner corner.

The match was getting increasingly physical by this point and there seemed a lot of chatter going on between the players.  Ash’s frustration was clearly manifested when James Blason barged Anthony Bridgeman into touch – the ref booking the United player and awarding a freekick.  Simon Cooper cleverly flicked the ball to Banton-Brown but his shot from a good position was easily gathered.  The home side seemed to grow in confidence as time wore on – their next chance arriving in the 67th minute when another blistering run to the byline from Carnegie resulted in a good cross – Adlam saving a shot at the near post.  More bookings followed for the visitors, as well the substitution of Lance for Luke Simpson, before City won themselves a corner in the 79th minute.  This appeared to have been miskicked to the near post, however the ball was flicked into the air by an attacker, allowing Luke Simpson to try a spectacular overhead kick which Fish could only push onto his bar before it was cleared.  A minute later a raking pass from defence found Carnegie but, having beaten the offside trap, he shot wildly wide from inside the box.  Luke Simpson then went close again – heading wide at the far post from a corner.

Throughout this period, Ash were not giving Guildford an easy time and on more than one occasion, some blistering runs, particularly from Blason, drew on all the skills of the City back four.  The visitors definitely dominated the final ten minutes of play, winning a freekick in a dangerous position in the 86th minute which was deflected behind – Blason firing wide from an extreme angle from the resulting corner.  A freekick from the halfway line in the 91st minute similarly came to nothing and Ash just could not forge the killer opportunity which would have earned them a point.

With the match kicking and screaming towards a home win, it was not surprising there would be a twist in the tail.  Luckily for Guildford, it was not an equaliser but yet another sending off – Carnegie picking up a second yellow card for a ‘handbags’ incident with Matthew Everard.  This did little to dilute the celebrations afterwards – City having well and truly avenged their tame surrender of a week before.

GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; E. Defreitas; A. Bridgeman; S. Cooper; J. Thoroughgood; J. King; H. Carnegie; B. Rayner (J. Brown 80); J. Guilford; L. Banton-Brown (L. Simpson 66); L. Bradnick (D. Elgar 77)

Subs not used: B. Cain; R. McCarry

Booked: Ben Rayner
Sent off: Harrison Carnegie

ASH UNITED: A. Adlum; S. Cannie; L. O’Donnell (M. Everard 88); A. Hanning; A. Gough; M. Fifer; J. Blason; G. Evans; S. Lydon; M. Cousins; M. Powell (R. Parrott 78)

Subs not used: P. Bonner; C. Bowditch

Booked: J. Blason; G. Evans; M. Cousins; M. Everard

Referee: A. Morley
Attendance: 58