Groundhopping

Ticking my hometown…. Guildford City FC v Sheerwater

Hello!

Thanks for clicking on A Groundhoppers Guide to the Pyramid, this week we’ve served up another cracker, with a trip to Guildford City FC!

This weekends football calendar is full of Derbies, from Merseyside (Everton v Liverpool) to London (Tottenham v West Ham) and Milan (AC v Inter) to Glasgow (Celtic v Rangers)…

So with derbies kicking off all over Europe, it was only right that we found a Derby that would actually be able to accommodate fans, and that led us to my hometown club Guildford City, who I had somehow never seen despite seeing 122 games of football in my life.

Guildford City were hosting Sheerwater, a small village between West Byfleet and Horsell, who currently play their matches at Kingfield in Woking. The clubs are separated by just 8 miles (the distance from Guildford to Sheerwater), meaning the two clubs are closer to each other than the two Madrid clubs which surely means it passes the Derby test!

So we were expecting a good, lively game, and to whet our appetite we decided to watch the Merseyside Derby at my house before the game. If you saw that game yesterday you will know it was filled with goals, red cards and a heap of controversy, and you couldn’t take your eyes off the second half.

So as we walked down through Stoke Park, we were hoping much of the same for the next couple of hours.

I am actually quite familiar with the Spectrum Football Ground as my secondary school hosted their sports day on the athletics track, so I knew exactly what to expect, but I was intrigued to see the set up for a football game.

To be fair, I think the ground really represents what Guildford is about, it has a pretty big seating area, or you can watch from the top of a small hill which gives you some wonderful views of Guildford, so I think it really encapsulates the heart of the town.

The view from the hill

Also Guildford City get a lot of plus points for selling tickets online and on the door, I got mine online which always suits me best but I think it’s really important to still allow people to pay on arrival, so full marks there!

So we took our seats and were prepared for a thriller…. but that wasn’t quite the case.

The game really struggled to ever get into a particularly exciting rhythm, and it did seem as if both teams were slightly lacking confidence. In all honesty this was to be expected as both sides had only won once in the league this season coming into the game.

During the early stages it was probably Sheerwater who seemed to have more control over the game, but City were definitely looking more likely to score, as their front men looked threatening when they made it into advanced areas.

We got our first (and what proved to be the only) goal of the game 10 minutes before half time, and it was the away side who grabbed it, after the ball was neatly poked home by Shane Rideout. It was a decent goal that was probably deserved as the away side did look marginally better in the first half.

Guildford City did nearly equalise soon after though, and it was through one of their forwards, who jinked his way into some room in the box, only to see his well struck effort rattle off the post. It was a really nice bit of play that maybe warranted a goal.

The first 45 was actually pretty entertaining, as both sides regularly came forward with intent, so we were looking forward to hopefully a bit more in the second half.

We decided to move up the hill to get a new angle on everything, but maybe our move jinxed the game a little as the second half just never really got going.

The second half was a battle in the midfield

It wasn’t due to lack of effort from either side, probably much the opposite to be honest. There was just a pretty clear lack of penetration going forward from City, and Sheerwater never really threatened on the counter. I am writing this a few hours after the game, and the only notable things I can recall from the second half are some meaty challenges and a couple of half chances.

I must say that this wasn’t exactly the best advert for non league football, but you can’t expect to go to a seven goal thriller week in week out, and I’d certainly rather go to watch a game like that than pay £14.95 to watch a mediocre Premier League game!

Anyway, as we neared the full time whistle Guildford City tried to throw men forward but overall they just lacked cohesion and couldn’t muster enough waves of attack on the Sheerwater goal.

Sheerwater looked delighted when the game was concluded, and that probably shows just how much both teams are struggling, but it was the visitors who will get a massive confidence boost from this encounter.

I would love to go back and watch Guildford City again as it would be cool to see my hometown team win a game, and experience the stadium during a properly good Combined Counties game, but maybe for another time!

This result means it’s now three Saturdays in a row that I have been to a 1-0 game, but we still wait for the elusive 0-0 this season….

I think the Spectrum is a really nice place to watch football, there is a proper non league football atmosphere there and you can get some excellent views, and it is very easily accessible. I must also say that they were very good with the Covid protocols which is excellent in these weird times we live in!

I made it back just in time to watch Arsenal get beaten 1-0 by Man City in a game that was probably worse than the one at the Spectrum, so I can’t really complain can I?!

Anyway, that’s all for this weekends Groundhopping action, make sure you come back on Wednesday where I will hopefully be bringing you a report from Winchester City FC.

Make sure you go and follow us on Twitter @GroundhoppersG1 and RT this post.

See you Wednesday 👋

  • GROUND: Spectrum Football Ground
  • GAME: Guildford City 0-1 Sheerwater
  • COMPETITION: Combined Counties Premier Division
  • GROUND NUMBER: 84
  • WOULD I GO BACK: Yes, more goals please!
  • TICKET PRICE: £8
  • HOPPER: George
  • DAYS SINCE LAST 0-0: 603
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