Molesey 5 – 1 Guildford City

CITY ended their four game unbeaten run with this extremely disappointing result against the in-form Molesey. Guildford were not as poor as the result suggests but time and again were caught napping at the back as The Moles cruised to victory with some extremely soft goals (and it has to be said, one excellent finish).

The Sweeney convened on Molesey in drips and drabs from various corners of London and the south east. Lofty had the week off and decided to head down about 4 hours before kick off – he was certainly a little merry by the time I found him trying to play pool in the Lord Hotham (that’s one of Molesey’s many drinking establishments by the way, not the actual Lord Hotham… in fact let’s not pursue this any further) with his mate. Stumbling into the ground about five minutes before kick off we linked up with the rest of the City fans and took up position behind the goal, hoping that Guildford would continue their excellent form under Dave Tidy. The alarm bells started to ring a bit when it was revealed that several players had not been able to play due to illness or work commitments but City fielded a reasonably strong side with plenty of first team regulars.

The opening minutes of the game were very even but the home side could have been 1-0 up as early as the third minute, when Dave Tidy spilled a cross. Luckily for him and City however, one of his defenders was on hand to clear it. The visitors came back into the game but could not cause their hosts any problems, despite winning two freekicks in dangerous positions at around the quarter hour mark. In the 19th minute Si Sheppard fashioned an opportunity in the box but his snapshot was claimed comfortably by the keeper at his near post. Three minutes later, it was John Hamsher’s turn to have a go but his volley went well wide. The home side responded immediately and caught Guildford on the break – a move culminating in a Matt Baxter header flying over the City bar. At this stage however Guildford were holding their own and won a corner in the 26th minute which was taken short, Si Sheppard’s cross being cleared by the Molesey defence. Joe Loyza then had two chances – a long range shot in the 27th minute which failed to trouble the keeper and then on the half hour mark an impressive first time shot which flashed wide of the post after Sheppard had put him through.

Guildford would come to rue not making more of these chances as the home side started to take hold of the game. A minute after Loyza’s miss, they won a freekick on the edge of the City area – the ball being delivered diagonally across the face of the City area and two Moles players failing to connect with it. This was a let off and Guildford responded, winning, but failing to cause any problems with, a freekick on the edge of the home side’s area and then attempting to test the Molesey keeper courtesy of a John Hamsher lob in the 36th minute, which went wide. The hosts did not let these half chances distract them and they caused more problems for City in the 38th minute, winning a corner from a freekick which one of their players was only a fraction of an inch from heading into the net. Just when it looked like Guildford would make it to halftime without conceding, the home side finally got a breakthrough. Sam Lampard collected a long ball down the middle and released Lewis Ackerman down the right wing. The Molesey striker held up the ball and then passed into the path of Andy Graves who sent in a cross which was headed past Dave Tidy by the Moles’ prolific striker, Matt Baxter. Chasing (at least) a 1-0 deficit has been par for the course for City over the last month or so and they responded with a half chance which was easily gathered by the keeper. The half ended however with another superb chance for the home side, one of their players yet again failing to convert a header when unmarked at the far post.

A disappointing halftime scoreline but there still seemed to be plenty to play for in the second half. During the break Ian and I (as members of the committee) were invited to take ‘tea’ and mince pies with the Molesey committee during which I managed to burn my lip quite badly when I realised that whilst the pies appeared to be mildly warm on the outside, they were like molten larva on the inside!! I also got to speak to Lofty’s mate who had been drafted in, in the absence of Mr Pegman. I think it is fair to say that he was not impressed with the quality of football on offer – very surprising as he admitted to paying to watch Peterborough on a regular basis! He’ll be back – he loved it really.

So it’s fair to say that we were expecting a competitive second half but what we got was less a competition and more a massacre – still we’ve got used to these sort of games this season. Molesey came out of the blocks like whippets and were very quickly causing problems. Within four minutes of the restart they were 2-0 up. Tidy turned a Lewis Ackerman shot round the post for a corner which was only half cleared to Defoe who sent in a pinpoint cross to the unmarked Liam O’Leary at the far post. The midfielder volleyed the ball home impressively and suddenly City were looking a long way from getting anything from the game. The home side kept up the pressure, volleying wide in the 54th minute and then nearly scoring again a minute later – Dave Tidy just keeping out a lucky deflection.

At last City began to wake up and they should have pulled one back in the 62nd minute when Matt Grave went through on goal and smashed the ball towards the top corner. Matt Nash, pulled off an absolutely incredible one handed save, however to deny the visitors. The match ebbed and flowed for the next 10 minutes, but it was clear that the home would not be happy until they had put the game well and truly to bed. They nearly got their third goal in the 73rd minute – Dave Tidy coming out to meet an onrushing Molesey player and saving what looked to be a certain goal with his feet. This was only delaying the inevitable unfortunately as a minute later Lewis Ackerman did make it 3-0 – a clever flick leaving him in space in the box and allowing him to finish comfortably past Tidy. There was no chance now of Guildford getting anything from the game – they just were not creating enough chances and looked vulnerable whenever Molesey went on the attack – and an element of defeatism must have kicked in.

The home side began to run riot and scored again just four minutes later – substitute Stephens powering into the box and finishing clinically past Tidy. One man who was not giving up though was Simon Sheppard and he finally gave the scoreline some respectability, taking advantage of a terrible spill from the keeper to slide the ball into the net. This was almost cancelled out immediately when Baxter went through on goal and somehow shot wide with just Tidy to beat. Molesey were not to be denied however and won a corner after another superb save from Tidy. Yet again an unmarked player was able to put the ball in the back of the net, this time Paul Yeates rising to head home at the far post. The scoreline could have been even worse for City but they were fortunate that both Lampard and O’Leary missed good chances in the closing minutes of the game.

MOLESEY: M. Nash; A. Graves; J. Yeates; M. Sherwin; M. Spencer; S. Brown (sub C. Stevens, 74); S. Lampard; R. Defoe (sub M. Jordan, 81); M. Baxter; L. Ackerman (sub P. Cross, 81); L. O’Leary

Subs not used: O. Bent; S. Winnen

GUILDFORD CITY: D. Tidy; P. Bartholomew (sub D. Hunt, 74); M. Burns; A. Smillie; A. Wylde (sub Harrison Baker, 90); M. Beard; J. Hamsher; A. Vine; M. Grave; J. Loyza; S. Sheppard

Subs not used: L. Passmore