Guildford City 2 – 2 Thatcham Town

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The points were shared at the Spectrum in what was an entertaining Southern League encounter on New Year’s Day. Thatcham Town, the visitors, belied their low position in the table with a spirited performance, when their efforts particularly on the break caused City considerable difficulties. The first attacking threat did come from City, when a returning Scott Todd’s darting run into the box was thwarting as he went down; but appeals for a penalty were brushed aside by referee Lucie who was to have a fine match. Minutes later it was the visitors who broke quickly after City lost the ball cheaply in midfield. The ever lively Peter Raines crossing for Carl Oliyide who shot first time just past the post. A fine Dan Moody run saw he ghost past two defenders on the right and cross to the far post where Dammy Bada, the smallest player on the pitch, just failed to get his head to the ball. Tommy Tydeman then played in Junior Kaffo, who turned smartly on the edge of the box, but couldn’t keep his shot low enough. It was Thatcham who took the lead on 19 minutes. Sam Hamilton’s shot was parried by Hall, and from the resulting corner Raines headed unchallenged into the City net from just three yards. Guildford were back on level terms within minutes. Kaffo’s flick on was gathered by Dan Moody who rounded Bufton to slide in the equaliser. The home defence was looking far from certain, and moments from the interval Simon Cooper was forced to head off his own line as Thatcham looked to go in to the interval with the advantage.

Guildford opened the second half with an impressive second goal. Junior Kaffo drove strongly out of midfield, and Corey Holder’s cross from the left waste by Tommy Tydeman who astutely laid the ball on for Dan Moody to fire home his 19th goal of the season from 20 yards. There followed chances at either end. A direct free-kick from 20 yards was driven inches wide by Raines for Thatcham, whilst Antony Hall saved well with his legs just minutes later. In between Scott Todd’s curling shot from the edge of the box was comfortably taken by Bufton. On 57 minutes the visitors scored a deserved equaliser: a free kick from the left being met at the far post by substitute Liam Painter. The lively Painter then missed a glorious chance to give Thatcham victory, when through one on one he blazed high and wide. City’s Junior Kaffo had similar chances as Guildford pressed hard in the late stages. Firstly Dammy Bada’s through ball set Kaffo up but a fine last ditch tackle defied the tall City striker. With ten minutes remaining Kaffo again broke free and on this occasion did get his shot away, but sadly his powerful effort eluded the crossbar. As the seconds ticked down City poured forward in pursuit of their first victory in eight games. On 86 minutes ex-youth player Bruce McPhail took the ball down the left, before feeding Dammy Bada who took the ball on dangerously into the box, and his low cross found Dan Moody who first touch was heavy and he was unable to get a shot away. Moments later following a corner Will Heavey’s firm effort was parried for another corner, from which for the second consecutive game Ben Rayner struck the post. It wasn’t to be for City, but for those neutrals present a highly entertaining game of football.

Listen to post-match reaction from manager Kevin Rayner and goalscorer Dan Moody.

Guildford City:
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper, Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Tommy Tydeman (Bruce McPhail 79), Junior Kaffo, Scott Todd (Will Heavey 66), Dammy Bada.
Unused substitutes: Ryan Long, Jaydon Gibbs, Jack Guilford.
Cautioned: None

Referee: Mark Lucie