First's fight back for a point
A great comeback saw the first team recover from two goals down inside twenty minutes, to earn a point against Guildford City at Gander Green Lane on Saturday. In a match that summed up "a game of two halves"
The lads got off to an awful start at fell behind in only the sixth minute, having already survived a scare when former SCR man Marlon Pinder could only tamely hit an effort back to Craig Bradshaw. A long ball out of the Guildford defence wasn't dealt with by Keano Robinson, allowing Pinder a run on goal, and he duly fired low beyond left hand for 1-0.
Joe Mead was on the end of a fierce Dan Akinwande challenge on ten minutes, and needed several minutes of treatment before being able to continue, but even that could raise us from our slumber, and Guildford went close to increasing their lead on thirteen minutes when Bobby Dormer fired an effort wide of the right hand post. Two minutes later and we had our first chance, but Stefan Joseph was denied by a good save by Kallum Lunn.
Liam Holden went close to bringing us level on 17 minutes, when his curled effort over the wall, bought another good save out of Lunn, low to his right, but this was probably the sum total of our attacking efforts in the opening 35 minutes, and Guildford were comfortably the better side.
It was 2-0 on twenty-one minutes. A launched free kick by Adams was again misjudged by Robinson, allowing Darryl Siaw the chance to poke the ball back across the face of goal, where Bradshaw, Aaron Bogle and Pinder all arrived at the same time, with the Guildford man forcing the ball home from close range.
Akinwande intercepted a low Matt Auletta cross, after he had been released by Bogle, as we gradually as the half hour approached, started to get into the game. Holden fired wide of the right hand post on 34 minutes, after good work by Joseph.
SCR were gifted a lifeline in the game five minutes from the break. A hopeful cross by Liam Holden seemed to be heading to keeper Lunn, until Adams intervened and sent his attempted clearance onto the crossbar. Joseph reacted quickest to head home the loose ball for 2-1.
Darren Salmon made his first change on 41 minutes, replacing the out of sorts Rudolf Tewe, with youngster Jean-Luc Kinsaba (Tewe, the man of the match on the Monday, finding how football can lift you up and crash you down). Auletta had a shot comfortable saved by Lunn near the end of the half, and at the other end Bradshaw did well to hold a fierce free kick by Shaun Lyle, after Siaw had been fouled on the edge of the area.
Half time came with the majority of SCR fans wondering how they were still in the contest, such was the display in the first half, as Guildford had been totally dominant.
After a gee-up by Salmon and Donny Rennalls at the interval, it was a much brighter SCR that took to the field, and in the opening minutes Auletta fed Kinsaba and his right footed effort bought a good save out of Lunn diving to his right. From the corner Owen Davies saw his header deflected behind for another corner and from that Jordan Johnson-Palmer fired a right footed shot over the bar.
Siaw looked to have won a penalty on 50 minutes, after a great turn on the edge of our area, but the referee only awarded a free kick, which was wasted by Evan Lopes (have to say this was a let off, as from where I was sitting it looked a penalty). Mead drifted passed a couple of challenges on 55 minutes, but his low shot was comfortably gathered by Lunn. Two minutes later and Robinson put a free header from a corner wide of the right hand post.
Auletta and Mead linked up on the hour to release Joseph, but he dragged his effort horribly wide, and the ball eventually ran out for a throw in. We almost gifted Guildford another chance, as we fell asleep at a free kick, and although Davies prevented Pinder getting a shot away, Holden's clearance only went back into the danger area and we were somewhat fortunate that the final Guildford ball found their wideman offside.
Michael Campbell replaced Joe Mead on 63 minutes, and was immediately involved, forcing Siaw into a rash challenge in the box, and earning a penalty. Campbell himself stepped up, instead of regular penalty taker Holden, but saw his effort well saved by Lunn low to his right.
Robinson and Johnson-Palmer combined well to find Campbell on 67 minutes but he was denied by a good challenge by Greg Haydon, and on 70 minutes Joseph could only find the side netting with his shot from a tight angle.
With ten minutes remaining Campbell finally atoned for the penalty miss. Latching onto a superb ball by Johnson-Palmer, his first time strike from the edge of the area beat Lunn to his right and levelled up the scores at 2-2.
Campbell had another effort disallowed for offside on 84 minutes, after neat work by Johnson-Palmer, Holden and Auletta as we pushed for that all important winning goal.
Both sides had chances to snatch the win in injury time. Holden found Auletta as Guildford dozed off at a corner, but the normally composed youngster could only fire his effort over the bar. At the other end, and after a needless Blowers foul, Dormer was gifted a free header, which went a yard wide, and signalled the end of the game.
Tempers had been fraying and there were a few handbags on full time, which did neither side any credit, and was a shame, as it had been a well contested game.