Guildford City 2 – 0 Croydon

Guildford City moved within touching distance of the Combined Counties Premier Division title after beating visitors Croydon on a sunny day at the Spectrum. A win at Ash or Bookham would all but secure the championship after Chertsey Town were held to a draw by Cove, with City enjoying a ten goal superior goal difference.

Croydon visited a Guildford side keen to make amends for dropping points against Colliers Wood United in midweek. The match started brightly, with City looking livelier and giving a much more coherent display than in previous matches. Dan Moody went close within quarter of an hour when he found space at the far post, only to pull his shot onto the opposite upright. Half an hour had elapsed when Austin Gacheru tried to lob the oncoming Ameyaw in the Croydon goal, but saw his shot go wide. Leon McDowell looked sharp up front and was testing the pace of Jamie Thoroughgood, who put in a superb performance alongside Cooper, de Freitas and Chaplin to ensure a cleansheet for the City.

While goalless at half time, the hosts had provided the best chances and so it proved after the break. Picking up the tempo from the first half, City pressurised the Croydon backline and started to exploit ever increasing gaps in midfield. The opening goal came from a free kick from a little outside of the penalty area. Simon Cooper hoisted an elegant finish over the wall to beat Ameyaw at his near post in the 65th minute. Joe Gant had a shaky moment minutes later when he fumbled a low cross, and was thankful to Thoroughgood was clearing at the feet of a Croydon striker.

Greaves all but killed off the visitors when he latched on to a superb through pass from Camara in the 70th minute. Rounding the goalkeeper, Joel Greaves slotted home into an empty net. The two goal cushion gave City the chance to relax a little, but they kept the pressure on the visitors and forced their opponents to play very deeply. There were several chances for Croydon to pull a goal back on the break, but on the rare occasion they beat the offside trap the killer instinct was lacking.

News filtered through of Cove’s 0-0 draw with Chertsey that put City back on top of the league. Four points would definitely make Guildford champions, but in truth a single victory from the last two matches should be enough thanks to the huge goal difference. Local rivals Ash United will be a tough test and will not be too receptive to the idea of City (all but) securing the league title at their Shawfield Road ground.