Guildford City entertained Didcot Town on Wednesday evening in a game where City didn’t give up despite the score line, showing passion and bravery under the floodlights. The return of goal keeper Antony Hall was a boost for the club who came straight into the starting line-up after a six month absence, along with three other changes to the starting eleven against Shortwood United.
The first half started in favour of the visitors as Didcot earned a corner early on, but Jack Longford’s resulting header was just wide of goal. However some good interplay between Pat Cox and Josh Clayman down the right channel threatened to create an attack, however possession was lost as Didcot earned another corner on the break, dealt with by Antony Hall. City were coping well on and off the ball, immediately closing down Didcot and providing an attacking threat as some good passing work by Josh Clayman found George Bowerman, but his through ball came to nothing.
However Didcot looked lively in front of goal as John Mills filtered through City’s defence, once with a teasing cross and the other with a low hard shot across goal but Hall was there to deal with the danger. The first clear chance of the game fell to the visitors as a long ball found Pablo Haysham with only Hall to beat, but his initial shot was blocked by Jamie Thoroughgood and the rebound forced a good save from City’s ‘keeper. Didcot then capitalised on this by scoring the first of the game; a defensive error from Ryan Bernard allowed John Mills through with a cool finish past Hall on 25 minutes. Mills then tried to add his second in spectacular fashion from 25 yards; his shot was just inches away from the right of goal. However, City fought back with Ben Walshe providing a good through ball that was met in turn by a number of City players.
After numerous shots were blocked, Tuan West got the final touch but couldn’t punish Didcot’s defensive mix up. Ben Walshe was again involved in providing City’s attacking threat as his long free kick fell to Dom Ogun who found space to shoot, however his shot was caught by Didcot ‘keeper Alex Williams. Didcot then had two close chances to double their lead; captain Luke Carnell’s header from a corner travelled just over the bar and Pablo Haysham missed John Mill’s rebounded shot from close range.
Half time: Guildford City 0 – 1 Didcot Town
Didcot had a chance to extend their lead from a Michael McKirnan free kick but Pablo Haysham’s resulting low header was dealt with by Hall. City had a lot of possession in midfield and passed the ball well as they looked to equalise; George Bowerman was again through on goal but his low shot took a deflection.
The game still had the intensity from the first half as City showed their desire to equalise. Long balls were also being fed to Cox and Bowerman but breaking through the resilient Didcot defence was proving difficult. However it was Didcot that scored the second of the game. A long ball to Kameron Abbassi saw his header hit the post, but John Mills was there for the rebound, his header travelling past Hall with 60 minutes played. But, City fought back straight away as Pat Cox shot from far out but Alex Williams caught his attempt.
The home side then had their best chance of the game as Pat Cox’s header hit the post after a delicate Tuan West cross. Despite being two goals down, City were not giving up. The visitor’s Ben Whitehead could have added his side’s third as a grand run down the middle of the field found him through on goal, but he missed from close range with only Hall to beat. But City played with heart as shown in recent weeks, which was rewarded with a goal. Just before Ryan Bernard saw his header travel over Williams’ bar, a great cross from Dom Ogun found Jamie Thoroughgood who headed the ball straight past Williams and into the net on 87 minutes; his first goal since returning to the club.
The last minutes of the game were end to end and City looked to salvage a point against the Oxfordshire side. Darren Stapleton looked lively down the right as he tried to find a way through, but John Mills was also threatening for the visitors but he couldn’t finish any resulting passes to the striker. A loss for City but there was no denying the passion shown in their performance, which can only be taken into the game against Cinderford Town on Saturday.
Team: Antony Hall, Josh Clayman (Kevaugn Ward 90), Tuan West (Alex Afful 72), Ryan Bernard, Jamie Thoroughgood, Dean Thomas, Dom Ogun, Ben Walshe, George Bowerman (Omari Hibbert 62), Pat Cox, Darren Stapleton. Unused subs: Jordan Wilson.
Yellow Cards: Darren Stapleton
Referee: Shaun Scott
Attendance – 85