North Greenford United 5 – 4 Guildford City

Well well, what an entertaining end-of-season goal fest this Southern League encounter turned out to be. With horrendous traffic problems on M25 and M4 the start of the excitement was delayed by some 20 minutes whilst City players assembled. Understandably therefore after a truncated warm up, City played much of the first half as if they were still sitting in the traffic. North Greenford, although in the lower reaches of the table, were on a four match unbeaten run, and indeed looked a team in good form.

Guildford made a bright opening and twice came close in the opening stages; Casey McCabe’s delicately flighted ball giving Tyrone Newton an opportunity, and then Dan Moody shooting wide. Thereafter for much of the first period city were on the back foot. On 13 minutes Greenford’s experienced keeper Lee Pearce’s drop out bounced over the visiting defenders and Simon Cooper was forced to scramble back to make a brilliant last ditch challenge. Greenford were looking by far the more sprightly side and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 17 minutes; Aaron Morgan finding space on the edge of the box to slide his shot past Antony Hall. Then a minute after home skipper Danny Bennell headed narrowly over, Greenford made it 2-0. This time it was the impressive Zak Joseph whose pace took him clear of the defence to comfortably lob Antony Hall. On the half hour Casey McCabe was forced to clear the ball off the line following a corner and it was looking rather ominous for City. Then against the general run of play Guildford forced their way back into the game. Junior Kaffo’s ball forward was flicked on by Tyrone Newton to Dan Moody who facing away from goal took one touch before swivelling and volleying home from 20 yards. Now playing with more composure, City looked more the part and it was a surprise when Greenford regained their two goal advantage on 44 minutes; left back Dan Carter’s low cross being glanced home by Aaron Silcott. Then as the clock clicked down for the interval, and in a rare foray forward, Tyrone Newton was brought down on the edge of the box. Dan Moody’s subsequent free-kick was headed in by Simon Cooper at the far post and City went in at the interval just a goal adrift.

City looked an improved side in the second period, although Greenford constantly threatened with their pacey attack. It was no surprise therefore when on 49 minutes Guildford scored an equalising goal. Tom Penson’s cross field pass found Scott Todd, who looked up and timed his lofted pass to perfection, with Dan Moody running onto the pass and comfortably lifting the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net. Antony Hall was forced into action from a Zak Joseph break, and the ball like a basketball match, went from end to end. On 69 minutes Ben Rayner came perilously close to getting a vital touch on Dan Moody’s pass, but a minute later City had nosed ahead. Scott Todd had wriggled through the home defence only to be brought down by Lee Pearce as he sought to round the keeper. Up stepped Dan Moody to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot. Not to be denied Greenford were back level at 4-4 just minutes later. A loose ball following a corner being converted by Aaron Silcott. The game was up for grabs and the result could have gone either way. In the event it went to Greenford by virtue of a quite wondrous 82nd minute goal. Daniel Vincent saw the ball bouncing in front of him and he left fly from fully 40 yards into the top corner. A fitting goal then to have won a truly entertaining match. City pushed forward to the end and twice young substitute Mike Woods, making his debut, caused problems in the home defence. Full credit to North Greenford who, despite a season of struggle, have hit a rich vein of form in the final month of the season.

Ian Plested interviews manager Kev Rayner and hattrick goalscorer Dan Moody after this crazy game.

Guildford City:
Antony Hall, Bruce McPhail, Ben Rayner, Simon Cooper (Mike Hall 87), Jamie Thoroughgood, Tom Penson, Dan Moody, Junior Kaffo, Tyrone Newton (Mike Woods 77), Scott Todd, Casey McCabe.
Unused substitutes: Jaydon Gibbs, Anthony Bridgeman.
Cautioned: Simon Cooper

Referee: Jason Richardson