GUILDFORD CITY easily over-powered their opponents in this high scoring game which pitted 2nd in the league against bottom of the league. In fact the match was almost beyond Dorking’s reach as early as the 5th minute when the home side were already 2-0 up. Despite a terrible first half, however, Dorking managed to at least make the game competitive in the second period, as City took their foot off the gas, and can be disappointed not to have scored at least one goal.
City fielded a pretty much unchanged side against Dorking – a team lying 12 points from safety at the bottom of the Combined Counties Premier League. Dan May made a welcome return to the starting line-up, playing up front, and was partnered by Simon Sheppard who had been sorely missed by the side during his seemingly long recovery from injury. As has been said City started the match at a canter – in the 3rd minute the home side sent in a cross which was headed at goal, parried of the line by the keeper and then lashed in by Rob Parrott. Having unfortunately decided to go to the toilet at this point in the game –not with my microphone on of course – I managed to miss this goal!! Barely two minutes later Lee O’Donnell latched onto a clearance from the Dorking penalty area to unleash a powerful volley from the edge of the box and straight into the back of the net.
This game was already beginning to look like a truly ‘men against boys’ contest: a little like the Derby v Villa match occurring at the same time which was to have the same scoreline. City’s comfortable passing game was easily producing results against a Dorking side low on confidence and making simple mistakes with alarming frequency. Still they recovered their composure sufficiently to win a corner in the 13th minute from which they headed wide and to unleash a speculative volley a minute later which failed to trouble the keeper. The initiative then passed once again to the home side who began to move the ball around the pitch well and create problems for the Dorking defenders. It seemed only a matter of time before someone scored and Dan May duly obliged in the 25th minute, flicking the ball into the net with the back of his head from the edge of the 6 yard box. But for an impressive run by one of Dorking’s midfielders followed by a shot which appeared to strike a City player’s hand in the box, the rest of the half was all Guildford. Rob Parrott tried a speculative punt from 30 yards in 40th minute and then two minutes later Simon Shepherd, through on goal, attempted to chip the keeper without success. In the 43rd minute the Dorking keeper produced a superb instinctive save to deny the home side once again before diving to tip a long range shot round the post. Simon Sheppard scored from the resulting corner with a clinical strike from around 10 yards out.
The ref blew for halftime and even the most optimistic Dorking fans would have had to admit the game was effectively over. Still they appeared to be making light of their situation. Meanwhile some City fans had missed out on the chance to see their football team rack up their joint highest score of the season. For some there were perfectly legitimate reasons – university coursework for instance. For others there were completely unacceptable reasons like going to watch Aldershot in the expectation that they would clinch their promotion to the football league (needless to say they didn’t quite!) I’m not going to name and shame these shameless glory-hunters – that’s not what we’re about here at Guildford City – except to say that it was Matt and Stu. Hang your heads in shame gentlemen! (My trip to Wembley last Saturday was of course a completely different matter….)
Anyway the second half kicked off amid speculation that Guildford might put a cricket score past their visitors. It wasn’t to be quite that decisive but an effective job was done nonetheless. Dorking started brightly and won a freekick 25 yards out in the 51st minute. A powerful and accurate shot was sent towards the City goal but luckily Jay Gindre was able to hold onto it. Dan May added his name to the growing list of City players who had tried and failed to lob the Dorking keeper, in the 53rd minute before the visitors once again had a good chance. An excellent run by Josh Smith was somewhat spoiled when he sliced his cross into touch instead of into the Guildford penalty area. There followed several off the ball incidents – one where Rob Parrott appeared to be comprehensively taken out by an opposition player and needed treatment (the ref showed no cards) and another where Dan May landed heavily and was winded for some minutes. Play resumed however and despite a resurgent Dorking it was City who extended their lead in the 73rd minute. A freekick was won near the far byline and Aneel Azeem sent in an excellent ball which landed with un-erring precision on the back of Mark Tomlinson’s head and went straight into the net!! Mark was credited with the goal but probably knew nothing about it!
Back came the visitors though, determined to salvage some pride from the situation – another good run into the home side’s penalty area resulting only in a weak shot which Jay was able to gather comfortably. In the 76th minute Aneel tried the same thing at the other end but was only able to produce a similarly weak shot – however another goal was not far away with Rob Parrott sliding in to notch up his second strike of the game after a goalmouth scramble a few minutes later. Still the visitors would not throw in the towel, shooting wide a minute later and then being supremely unlucky not to get a goal when Jay fumbled a cross and dropped the ball on the line. It was Rob Parrott who saved the situation, coolly playing keepy-uppy whilst standing on the goal-line before hoofing the ball to safety. The Dorking players’ understandable frustration spilled over with a nasty foul on Lee Allum (rightfully earning a yellow card for the player responsible) and it was Lee Allum who rounded off the match, heading wide of the goal in the dying seconds of the game.
GUILDFORD CITY: J. Gindre; A. Jones; L. O’Donnell; M. Tomlinson; P. Andrews; R. Parrott; A. Azeem; D. Rice (sub A. Wylde 82); D. May (sub D. Peltohaka 63); S. Sheppard (sub B. Thorne 63); L. Allum
Subs not used: L. Wye
DORKING: B. Simkins; G. Howells (sub M. Beesley 56); A. Hill; O. Barrett; T. Fennessy; D. Clayton; L. Boniface; D. Lawrence; T. Walker (sub W. Renton-Rees 37); J. Smith (sub T. Ahmed 77); J. Appiah
Subs not used: D. Stassinos