Guildford City (0) 1, Ashford Town (Middx) (0) 3
by Barry Underwood
Ashford Town to their credit didn’t give up on a game where they were second best for considerable periods and indeed still a goal down with just six minutes left on the clock, and their three late goals keep them well to the fore in the championship race. For their part Guildford City will once again be kicking themselves for not seeing out a game from which their performance deserved some reward. This was Guildford City’s first match at the Spectrum for two months after essential drainage works and on a heavily sanded pitch City looked a solid if not flamboyant side. However it was the skilful Adam Nditi who created the first moment of danger but his dangerous run into the heart of the visitors defence was thwarted by one touch too many. It was target man striker Connor French who set a second opportunity on 12 minutes when his delicate through ball released debutant Gabriel Odunaike but sadly for home fans his poor final touch allowed Tyler Tobin the opportunity to save at close range. Ashford were struggling to gain momentum and it was City again who came close on the quarter hour when the impressive Jack Battie forced his way into the box on the right but his low cross just eluded the stretching Connor French. On 21 minutes a similar cross from Nditi this time found Connor French but his delicate angled shot drifted wide of the far post. If I was a harsh person, and I seldom am, I would say it was the failure to score in this period that ultimately cost City the match. On the half hour City lost one of their defensive rocks Adam Turner who suffered a broken nose courtesy of a clash of heads, and just before the interval City had one more excellent chance on goal but after a good build up Jack Battie was unable to get enough power in his shot and Tobin comfortably saved.
Playing into a considerable wind in the second period Guildford still opened brightly, although they threatened more on the counter attack. From one such counter on 48 minutes Matt Anton saw the onrushing Jack Driver racing unmarked up the middle but sadly the crossfield pass just eluded the diminutive midfield player. Three minutes later a deep Jack Battie free-kick found Connor French beyond the far post and his hooked shot zipped back across the goalmouth. Eventually Guildford broke the deadlock on 54 minutes and it came from a moment of magic from Adam Nditi who picked the ball up dep and ran at the Ashford defence, beating one man before driving home from 20 yards. In retrospect City ceased to be so effective going forward from this moment and the visitors starting to enjoy a territorial advantage. It twice seemed that things were still going City’s way when firstly Ashford were reduced to ten men after Bradley Wainwright was dismissed for an off the ball incident, and secondly when after a harshly awarded penalty Mark Bitmead skied his shot over the crossbar. As so often is the case though the loss of a player appeared to lift the visitors who for much of the last twenty minutes were threatening the home goal. Eventually with six minutes remaining Ashford found a way through via a lovely through ball and Bitmead made up for his penalty miss with a splendid chipped finish. The goal that broke City’s heart followed two minutes later when Bayley Mummery drilled in a low shot inside Luke Badiali’s near post, and then deep in stoppage time and to complete City’s misery Bitmead picked his spot to score a third. Guildford’s players and management must remain positive because with the effort once again expended a positive result cannot be far way.
Post match interview with City defender Tom Booth can be heard here.
Team: Luke Badiali, Tom Booth (Josh Everard 68), Liam Flanighan, Martin Dynan, Adam Turner (Jack Collins 30), Harry Driver Remi Mongeaud 68), Jack Battie, Adam Nditi, Matt Anton, Connor French, Gabriel Odunaike. Unused sub: Nathan Chambers.
Referee: Matthew Westlake
Attendance – 75