Guildford City 2 – 1 Taunton Town

A last gasp header from Ryan Bernard was enough to clinch the points in a close fought Calor League tussle at the Spectrum. Just seven days previously Bernard had had to don the gloves and go between the sticks, but on this occasion the tall defender was making headlines at the other end of the pitch. The first half was generally a disappointing affair with both sides trying to grab a toehold in the middle of the park. On nine minutes Tuan West fired a challenging low cross into the box where it was cleared at full stretch by the visiting defence with George Bowerman waiting to pounce on any half chance. Taunton were enjoying considerable possession in the first period, without making any substantial headway. Midway through the half Ben Walshe sliced a long range effort wide, and five minutes later a good cross from Laurie Walters on the right was cleared to the edge of the area where a waiting Calvin Thomas volleyed high over the bar.

Half time: Guildford City 0 – 0 Taunton Town

The second period was a livelier affair. The first effort on goal fell to Tuan west, who picking up the ball deep in Taunton’s half, let fly from some 35 yards. Although the ball dipped it still comfortably cleared the crossbar. The visitors eventually took the lead after 53 minutes. Craig Herrod created some space on the left before firing a superb arcing cross that was met by Chris Young who headed home from six yards. Just minutes later a frustrated Pat Cox managed to shake off his markers to get goal-side but he just couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet. City were building some pressure and following a fine passing move on the edge of the box Tuan West got in a powerful goal bound effort that was spectacularly headed off the line by Ben Mammola. On 59 minutes City deservedly got themselves on the score sheet. Ben Walshe’s defence splitting pass was met by Tuan West whose low ball across the six yard box was met by Josh Clayman, who converted from close range. Attempts on goal were then exchanged by both sides; Pat Cox’s volley for Guildford and Aron Robbins low shot for Taunton.

On 69 minutes fine inter-play between Calvin Thomas and Tuan West saw the ball break loose to the edge of the box but Laurie Walters was only able to pull his shot wide. Sweeney hearts were in mouths on 76 minutes when Taunton had the ball in the back of the net following a corner. Thankfully for City, referee Stuart Jack had spotted an infringement and the “goal” was disallowed. It was Guildford who pushed forward in the latter stages pressing for a winner. On 86 minutes Calvin Thomas’s cross from the by-line landed on top of the crossbar before being cleared. Then as the game approached stoppage time and the game becoming stretched, Tuan west cut in from the left and appeared to be brought down in the box. The referee took a different view and waved play on. In a rare attack Taunton looked to break City’s hearts but an excellent Josh Clayman block kept the scores level. As the clocked ticked into stoppage time, Bruce McPhail set Tuan West into space again but his cross was cleared at full stretch just ahead of ben Walshe who stood foot cocked ready to volley home. By now deep into added time City were presented one final opportunity when they won a free-kick 40 yards from goal. Ben Walshe stepped up and floated a tempting ball into the crowded goalmouth. A number of heads went up but it was Ryan Bernard’s that rose highest and glanced the ball home off of the underside of the bar. Cue ecstatic scenes on and off the pitch as City realised that their season is now well and truly up and running.

Team: Will Dukes, Josh Clayman, Courtney Cann, Bruce McPhail, Ryan Bernard, Calvin Thomas, Laurie Walters (Ramone McCrae 72), Ben Walshe, George Bowerman (Kambo Smith 87), Pat Cox, Tuan West. Unused subs: Alex Afful, Dominic Ogun, Darren Evans.

Yellow cards: George Bowerman, Pat Cox

Referee: Stuart Jack

Attendance – 81