Guildford City 3 – 0 Badshot Lea

CITY ended the 2009/10 season on a high with this comprehensive win over a very tired looking Badshot Lea side.  The game was played in the impressive surroundings of Woking’s Kingfield ground and Guildford took to their adopted home almost immediately – King stabbing the ball home with only 2 minutes on the clock.  The sending off of former City man Paul Andrews followed after he handballed on the line and Jaydon Gibbs scored from the spot.  Lance Banton-Brown then put the seal on what had been a very exciting end to end encounter but controversy followed when Badshot player Michael Smith was sent off after a faceoff with Elvis Defreitas.

As mentioned Woking FC had kindly allowed Guildford City to use Kingfield for this encounter and we were all pretty excited about playing at this famous ground.  Guildford were up against a Badshot Lea side which had playing a huge number of games in a short space of time.  It was clear from the 5-0 defeat against Colliers Wood on Monday that this schedule was taking its toll but we were nevertheless wary of a side with some quality players.

City made the best possible start however, winning a corner almost from the kickoff.  Ben Rayner fired the kick to the far post, allowing Jamie King to poke the ball home from close range.  Badshot Lea responded immediately, winning a freekick on the edge of the box in the 6th minute which Mark Peters curled just wide.  Moments later Peters went on the attack again but his cross was easily gathered by Hall.  The visitors had responded positively but they were caught by a sucker-punch in the 12th minute.  City won another corner and King once again got on the end of it – heading for goal and the ball ricocheting onto the arm of Paul Andrews who was standing on the line.  The referee had no doubt, signalling a penalty and sending Andrews off for deliberate handball.  Jaydon Gibbs stepped up and beat Matt Watson with a low shot to his right from the spot.

Not surprisingly Guildford started to have a lot more of the play at this point.  In the 20th minute Elvis Defreitas made one of his trademark mazey runs up the pitch and looked to have a good chance of scoring before his shot was deflected to the keeper.  More Guildford pressure followed but before we knew it, the Baggies had counter-attacked, Peters making a pacey run down the left hand side but being crowded out by City defenders before he could shoot.  Two minutes later it was the home side’s turn – Tom Penson (once again playing the striker role) beating the offside trap and seeing his shot blocked.  Jaydon Gibbs was similarly frustrated before Banton-Brown cleverly headed the ball into the ground but saw his shot cleared off the line.  A freekick followed for the home side and a good run down the wing by Baggies midfielder Blake but both without result.

Contrary to all expectations both sides decided to throw caution to the wind at this point and this resulted in a ridiculous number of attacks and counter-attacks and it has to be said, wasted opportunities.  In the 25th minute, an excellent tackle from Liam Roberts broke up a Guildford attack but the visitors could not capitalise.  Moments later Rob McCarry who had just replaced the injured Gibbs could not keep a raking pass from Defreitas in play before Banton-Brown saw his shot blocked on the edge of the box.  Baggies striker Brad Smith then wasted a good chance, slicing a volley wide on the edge of the box.  City could then have increased their lead from a corner – a header being cleared off the line, this time legitimately.  The breathless, end-to-end pace of the game did not let up with Rob McCarry going close with a powerful shot from the edge of the area in the 39th minute.  Moments later Badshot Lea were at the other end and saw two shots blocked in the City penalty area.  The visitors had two more good chances before the break – a superb crossfield ball finding Rob Westall but Hall just clearing in time and then Brad Smith slicing wide from 10 yards out after an intelligent pass from Roberts.

City started the second half well and Lance had yet another chance to lead a late charge for that golden boot – hitting the post in the opening minutes.  In the 53rd minute Elvis Defreitas had another Maradonna moment which culminated in him rounding the last defender but firing wide.  Moments later Brad Smith was sent through but excellently dispossessed by Simon Cooper.  This spelled the start of a period of dominance from the home side.  In the 56th minute City won a freekick some 25 yards out, the shot being taken short and fired just wide.  Three minutes later Guildford won a corner, Jamie Thoroughgood’s header being delfected and held.  Elvis then unleashed a decent effort after a run down the right wing but it went just over the bar.  Lance was still trying desperately to get his name on the scoresheet – he went so close in the 63rd minute trying to beat the keeper at his near post from around 6 yards out but seeing his shot pushed out and cleared.  He finally got his goal a minute later though – an impressive cross allowing him to head home from close range.  There was no chance for more though as Lance came off for Tony Arnold immediately afterwards.

With the match apparently put to bed, you could have been forgiven for expecting both sides to just play out the remaining time with the minimum of effort.  Not a bit of it.  City continued to press but Badshot Lea were ever ready to exploit the gaps at the back.  In the 66th minute Tom Penson and Luke Simpson combined well to beat the static Baggies defence, Simpson’s shot being blocked by some last gasp tackling.  Moments later Simon Cooper fired over the bar from a freekick.  The visitors responded and in the 74th minute Hall had to pull a superb one-handed save to prevent a certain goal after Rob Westall broke through – the Baggies then headed over from the resulting corner.  Back came City and they so nearly made it 4-0 with the move of the game.  Rob McCarry made an excellent run down the right wing, winning a corner in the process.  Danny Elgar then received the ball and put it through to Simon Cooper who had appeared from nowhere to beat the offside trap – his kick being just held.

Both sides were so committed and inevitably there was a flare up on the pitch in the 83rd minute.  Elvis and Michael Smith squared up before Antony Hall waded in to try and break up the confrontation.  The referee again came down on City’s side, showing a yellow card to Elvis but sending off Smith, much to the away fans dismay – they felt Hall had been involved in some shoving himself and should also have seen red.

The match just refused to die however and both sides continued to make chances.  Tom Penson and Simon Cooper again combined well in the 88th minute – Cooper just failing to get a shot in from close range – before the Baggies counter-attacked seeing a shot blocked in the box.  Elvis then had to be quick witted to send a dangerous low cross behind for a corner which was cleared.  The final chance fell to City – Rob McCarry seeing a powerful shot held in the 93rd minute.

And so ended the 2009/10 season.  After the chaos of last term, Kevin Rayner and Roly Martin deserve huge praise for securing a 7th place finish.  The form in the final half of the season has been nothing short of superb – 42 points gained with the second best home record in the division.  And that’s before you include the impressive FA Cup run and getting to the quarter finals of the league cup.  Let’s hope this is the start of something very good for Guildford City FC.

GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; E. Defreitas; C. Knight; S. Cooper; J. Thoroughgood; J. King (L. Simpson 55); J. Gibbs (R. McCarry 27); B. Rayner; L. Banton-Brown (T. Arnold 64); T. Penson; D. Elgar

Subs not used: J. Brown; L. Bradnick

Booked: E. Defreitas; L. Simpson; R. McCarry

BADSHOT LEA: M. Watson; D. Chislett; L. Roberts (A. Prentice 61); M. Kleboe; P. Andrews; R. Westall; D. Blake; M. Griffiths (J. Sowden 61); B. Smith; M. Smith; M. Peters (D. Griffiths 75)

Subs not used: J. Short; J. Ashwood;

Booked: M. Kleboe; B. Smith
Sent off: P. Andrews; M. Smith

Referee: D. Sotimirin