Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Guildford City 1 v 1 Godalming Town

Monday 1st April 2013
Southern League Central Division
Spectrum Centre, Guildford
Admission: £8.00
Programme: £2.00
Attendance: 239
Match Rating: 3

For my second game of Easter Monday, I made my way back up to Guildford - a five minute train ride - for a local derby in the Southern League Central Division. What certainly appealed about visiting this ground was the club's offer of half price admission for season ticket holders of any other football club, meaning £4 entry for me. As another break from holding a Charlton season ticket is beckoning after this season, I thought it wise to take advantage of the offer whilst I still could.

The Spectrum Centre is located about a twenty minute walk from Guildford train station, although London Road station is actually about half the distance and the more logical choice if one does not feel inclined to walk through the city centre. The football ground is part of the large Spectrum leisure complex, and with that comes the ultimate minus point for a football facility - a running track around the outside. This means views are distant, as spectators are kept behind the running track. However, a very good vantage point can be had along one length of the pitch, with an elevated area consisting of two small covered all-seating areas in the middle and open terrace steps either side. It is also possible to stand at ground level along this length, where the tea bar and clubhouse are situated. There is a walkway along the top of a large grass bank behind one goal, and a reasonable distant view of the action can be had from here, and along the other length is hard standing, with a new small stand covering the area straddling the half way line. The area behind the other goal is inaccessible. The running track and constant drone of traffic from a neighbouring A3 dual carriageway detract from this ground considerably, but the bowl type shape, rural look of the ground with the imaginatively designed leisure centre in the background mean there are far worse places to watch football. The programme certainly looked the part with an attractive professional cover, and the contents of the 44 page publication was equally as impressive, with more than adequate information about the club, league as well as containing interesting articles, although slightly disappointingly was not updated with Saturday's games.

The end of season appears to have more at stake for Godalming, as they entered the weekend's games in third place in the league, and they would be level on points at the top if they were to win their two games in hand. Guildford have very faint hopes of making the play-offs, but were in eigth place, nine points adrift of three final play off position. When the two sides met on Boxing Day, Godalming won 2-0.

In what was Guildford's first home game since February 23rd due to the poor weather, the bobbly pitch with several areas covered with sand, together with a strong swirling wind, an entertaining match looked unlikely and so it proved for the most part, as players struggled to cope with the conditions. Godalming, unsurprisingly coming into the game in such good form, looked the better team for the opening hours, without managing to create many clear chances. On 20 minutes they did come extremely close to opening the scoring though when Johnnie Dyer saw his overhead shot hit the post and roll along the goal line before being cleared. On 35 minutes, it was the home side who took the lead when she free kick wide of the penalty area was flicked on, the keeper missed the ball and Jamie Thoroughgood headed home. Although both sides had half chances to score before half time, the home side retained their slender lead.

Godalming came out with more urgency in the second half but still struggled to fashion clear-cut chances...indeed, Guildford looked just as likely to score despite being forced back for long periods. It looked like the one goal would be enough for Guildford to claim a derby victory, but then three minutes from time, Godalming finally managed to get back on level terms, when some hesitant defending allowed the ball to be played forward and Scott Harris took control of the ball before gently placing the ball over the keeper and into the net. It was no more than Godalming deserved, and although both sides still had chances to win the game, a point apiece was a fair reflection of the game. Whilst a point keeps Godalming firmly in the hunt for promotion, it has probably signalled the end of Guildford's faint hopes of a play off berth.

Video highlights at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKT6bSeM6oM

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