THIS emphatic result which in truth could have been by an even greater margin, is proof that Guildford should not find themselves anywhere near the bottom three this season. City were just too good for a hard-working but ultimately ineffective Bookham side – retaining possession and stretching them with the pace of Carnegie and the guile of Danny Elgar. They deservedly scored twice in the first half courtesy of Ben Rayner and new signing James Brown before sloppily conceding moments later from a pacey counter-attack – Ronnie Appiah slotting easily home when one on one with the keeper. Any concerns that Guildford would not take all three points were swiftly dispelled however as Carnegie scored twice (and missed a sackful of other chances) to give City a comfortable win.
This was very much an afternoon for the enthusiast – the rain falling torrentially for most of the match. Despite this the turnout was better than usual, with even some ground hoppers in evidence. On the pitch, Kevin had had to make alternative striking arrangements, bringing in new signing Jack McLeod for Dan Moody who had sustained an injury in the midweek match against North Greenford
Guildford started the game strongly, having several efforts in the first ten minutes which the Lions’ keeper Tim Brewster was able to handle comfortably. At the other end a Bookham midfielder tried his luck from long range but without troubling Hall. In the 17th minute City won a corner which was headed wide at the far post but it looked as if they had corrected this glaring miss with a superb headed goal in the 25th minute – unfortunately it was an optical illusion, the ball flying the wrong side of the post. After the clinical finishing of Wednesday, this was more what we were used to. The home side were pretty much controlling the play however and it seemed only a matter of time before their luck changed. Sure enough the goal arrived three minutes later – Brewster being only able to deflect a powerful shot into the path of Ben Rayner who rolled the loose ball over the line. It wasn’t long before we were celebrating again. Some brilliant work down the left wing resulted in a slide rule pass which bisected the Bookham defence and allowed James Brown to finish easily at the far post.
Guildford were flying now but perhaps a touch of complacency drifted in. They were certainly caught flat-footed by Appiah’s blistering run to latch onto a through ball and fire past the helpless Hall. Although City’s bench all concurred afterwards that the goal was well offside, Guildford once more had some work to do. They could have restored their two goal lead in the final minute of the half – again some brilliant passing was involved but despite two bites at the cherry, the home side could not put the loose ball over the line.
There was only one option for the cold and wet spectators at halftime and that was to head for the shelter of the clubroom and have a beer!! Lofty, perhaps alone amongst the City fans had actually thought to bring an umbrella and once we had trooped out for the second half impressively remained on the terraces throughout the match. He was even out-shouted by a 7 year old girl who led the chants of ‘Red Army!’ and ‘Come on Guildford!’ Stalwarts from last year, Dave S and Joe M joined the occupants of the stand in giving Mr L some stick!!
The question at the back of all our minds was could City close out this match or were we about to see more points dropped in a criminal fashion?!! None of us believed a one goal cushion would be enough so the first twenty minutes or so were extremely frustrating as the home side huffed and puffed, dominating possession and creating chances that they just could not put away. On the hour mark a great cross into the box drew two point blank saves from Brewster and a minute later Carnegie, who had been giving his marker a torrid time all afternoon, skilfully manoeuvred himself to the byline and sent in a peach of a cross but with no Guildford head to knock it home. In the 69th minute it was Elgar’s turn, making a brilliant run into the box and pulling the trigger only to see his shot blocked by some desperate defending. Carnegie then rose unmarked to head wide the resulting corner and wasted another chance three minutes later – a blistering run taking him beyond his markers but his shot was straight into the keeper’s arms.
City really were dominating but it was going to be a nerve jangling ending if they could not get the killer goal. At last it arrived though – some great passing putting Carnegie through: the City striker waiting for the keeper to commit and then firing the ball home. The pressure continued on the unfortunate Bookham – Danny Elgar dinking a ball over the back four and winning a corner which City could not quite convert. At last the visitors found a breathing space and started to venture into the Guildford half. They put together a decent move in the 83rd minute but it broke down, allowing a counter-attack – Carnegie once again going close with a powerful shot which was well saved.
This was only a temporary reprieve however as City got their fourth some two minutes later – a defensive error enabling Carnegie to latch onto the ball, beat his man and fire home. Bookham started to come back into the game for the last five minutes of the match – a freekick in a dangerous position forcing a City defender to head the ball behind – but they were unable to make anything of the resulting corner. At the other end, debutant Jack McLeod nearly made it 5 after a sliding shot beat the keeper but drifted an inch or so wide of the post.
GUILDFORD CITY: A. Hall; T. Tydeman; E. Defreitas; S. Cooper; J. Thoroughgood; J. Turner (C. Knight, 65); J. Brown (Adrian Greenland, 78); B. Rayner (L. Bradnick, 88); Jack McLeod; H. Carnegie; D. Elgar
Subs not used: A. Ducran
BOOKHAM: T. Brewster; S. Currie; J. Van Gelder; R. Hurtt; D. Oliver; M. Fowler (R. Fraser, 45); J. Piercey; N. Ayling; R. Appiah; M. Packenham (M. Smith, 70); B. Ramsey
Subs not used: R. Bhogal; C. Peck; C. Woodward
Referee: A. Groves