Guildford City (0) 4, Godalming Town (1) 4
by Barry Underwood
Guildford City rounded off their season with a point in an absolute thriller of a local derby. It takes two sides to tango and full credit to Godalming Town who belied their lowly league position to contribute a wholehearted and often skilful performance. The first half saw both sides trying to play football and attempting to bring their wide players into the game. City’s build up was promising but all too often a vital touch was missing at a crucial time. The first shot on goal came from the visitors when on the quarter hour a shot from the right was blazed over the crossbar. City’s wingers Gallagher and Williams were often receiving the ball in advance positions but Town looked structured defensively and the home side just couldn’t fashion an opening. A half chance came and went when Dan Stewart sliced an effort wide, whilst a defensive error gave Tom Biss a long range shooting opportunity. On 30 minutes the game came to life when Stewart’s powerful effort was well saved by Aiden Upward, followed seconds later by a Stewart header that was comfortable saved. Then against the general run of play Godalming opened the scoring. A big clearance from the City defence was sliced high across goal where Tom Biss headed home. Both defences were flirting with an offside line, and late in the half City’s frontmen were twice ruled offside in dangerous positions.
The first period had been entertaining but compared to the second half it was truly pedestrian. My goodness what a half of football the second 45 was. Almost immediately after the restart, with spectators still returning to their places, Godalming had scored a second goal. There was nothing fancy about this effort. A steepling goalkeeper’s clearance was allowed to bounce in the Guildford half. Both central defenders felt the other was going to deal with the bouncing ball, but in the confusion Bobby Bennett raced through unimpeded to tuck the ball past Ziobrowski. How would City respond to this setback? Well the answer was immediate. Nathaniel Williams broke through on goal from the left and unselfishly tried to set up Dan Stewart. In retrospect the decision wasn’t the best and the chance was lost. A further minute on and Guildford were on the scoresheet. A high cross was headed back across goal by Nemo Adams, and Dan Stewart was lurking to head the ball home from close range. This sparked the City support behind the goal whose support grew increasingly noisy as the game went on. A minute later, on 51 minutes, the Sweeney had more the cheer when Dan Stewart broke through. He also was unselfish and his side pass found Jordan Gallagher whose first effort hit the post but fortuitously the rebound entered the net off of the prostrate Gallagher’s body. Guildford were now rampant and Gallagher and Stewart both had efforts saved by Upward. Gradually Godalming eased themselves back into the match, but it was the home side creating all of the chances. A Jack Battie free-kick heading for the top corner was brilliantly saved by Upward, whilst both Dan Stewart and substitute Robbie Mundow saw thumping efforts just clear the bar from outside the box. With 15 minutes remaining Guildford took the lead for the first time in the match. Dan Stewart was fastest to react to a loose ball in the box six yards from goal and his low shot went through a mass of bodies and into the net. The Sweeney behind the goal were ecstatic and perhaps both they and the home players felt they had done their job. Full credit to Godalming who weren’t throwing in the towel. Jordan Gallagher did have a golden chance to wrap the game up but through on goal he attempted an audacious chip which Upward saved comfortably. Would that miss prove costly? Godalming were gaining a toehold and on 82 minutes a move down the right saw Jack May drill a low shot home to once again bring the scores level. The lead had ebbed and flowed and with a minute remaining it was Jack May who bundled the ball over the line to give Gees the lead once again. The previously buoyant Sweeney were quietened as surely City couldn’t get back on level terms again. Well yes they could as in the final minute Dan Stewart curled his 27th goal of the season into the top corner for a quite exquisite goal. What a goal, and what a game for Guildford City to draw their season to a close.
Team: Kornel Ziobrowski, Chris Tancock, Josh Burrowes, Kieran Wright, Nemo Adams, David Burton (Robbie Mundow 66), Jack Battie, Kiye Martin (David Opoku 80), Jordan Gallagher, Dan Stewart, Nathaniel Williams.
Referee: William Davis
Attendance – 125
Chris Balchin Post-Match Interview:
Nemo Adams Post-Match Interview: