As at Greenford on Thursday Guildford started slowly, whilst Royston who are still in the play-off race understandably came out all guns blazing. Indeed after just four minutes Royston had edged ahead; Luke Robins delicately chipping home from 20 yards. The visitors came close to extending their lead on 10 minutes when Kaan Fehmi’s effort from close range was brilliantly saved by Antony Hall, and Elvis Defreitas was on hand to block the goal bound second effort. Shortly afterwards City were forced into a reshuffle when Tom Penson limped off to be replaced by Bruce McPhail. On 20 minutes Royston had the ball in the back of the net again, despite Guildford’s defenders claiming offside. Unusually both referee and his assistant initially gave the goal and made their way back to the half-way line. The referee then appeared to have second thoughts and consulted his assistant. From Guildford’s perspective justice was done as the match officials ruled out the “goal”. However a second Royston goal was not long delayed. On 26 minutes a loose ball in midfield gave the visitors chance to break. Antony Hall was able to parry the first effort, but Matt Standen was on hand to tuck home the loose ball. As the half advanced City became more of a dominant force, and on 35 minutes they finally got on the scoreboard. Sean Rivers deep cross was met by Dan Moody who took the ball outside a defender and slid the ball home for his 29th goal of the season. Then minutes before the interval a goalmouth scramble saw close range efforts from Jamie Thoroughgood and Sean Rivers blocked in the six yard box.
In the deteriorating wet conditions, City were an improved side in the second period. On 50 minutes former youth player Mike Woods curled a superb effort against the far post, and Dan Moody in the follow up took one touch too many and the chance was gone. A further defensive reshuffle was required on 55 minutes when Simon Cooper limped off. Two minutes later City scored their equaliser. Ben Rayner won a corner, and with a number of Royston defenders still remonstrating with the referee, the corner came over. The ball fell to the impressive Junior Kaffo on the edge of the box who shot home through a crowded goalmouth. Royston though, mindful of their play-off hopes, were not a spent force. Strong demands for a penalty was waved away, and then after 78 minutes a free-kick from 20 yards was acrobatically tipped onto the bar by Antony Hall. Elvis Defreitas was then somewhat unlucky to receive a second yellow with five minutes remaining, and Royston sensed a final opportunity. With seconds remaining a mix up in the City defence saw the ball bouncing towards an unguarded net. Cue Dan Moody who brilliantly got back at the last gasp to spectacularly hook the ball clear. All in all an entertaining match with both sides fully contributing in the increasingly heavy conditions.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper (Casey McCabe 55), Jamie Thoroughgood, Tom Penson (Bruce McPhail 12), Dan Moody, Junior Kaffo, Sean Rivers, Mike Woods, Dammy Bada (Tyrone Newton 76).
Unused substitutes: Mike Hall.
Cautioned: Junior Kaffo, Elvis Defreitas
Sent off: Elvis Defreitas (Second caution)
Referee: Anthony Serrano