Guildford City crashed to a comprehensive 5-0 defeat at AFC Croydon Athletic in the Combined Counties Premier Division South on Saturday afternoon.

Once again Guildford’s defensive frailties cost them dearly at AFC Croydon’s Mayfield stadium. Fine play in other parts of the pitch is for nothing if soft goals are conceded to opponents who already need no second invitation to put the ball in the net. Indeed, City opened the match brightly and from a Jamie Hilton free kick Anthony Ogbanufe’s shot from an acute angle hit the side netting. Minutes later from a corner Jake Heighes’ header was deflected wide for another corner. On the left Leon Dadey looked lively with runs into the box causing concern in the home defence.

City went behind in the 18th minute. From a deep free kick Mac Chisholm failed to make contact with the cross and Cian McCarthy headed in at the far post. Six minutes later City found themselves suddenly two goals in arrears when Ben Cheklit scored from the penalty spot. Predictably Croydon became more confident, but City still had moments offensively. Jamie Hilton won a 50:50 challenge, giving Ben Mitchell a shooting chance from outside the box. Typifying City’s fortune Mitchell’s piledriver hit the underside of the crossbar and was cleared. As the game approached the half-time interval Lewis Taylor’s effort was pushed round for a corner, while Hilton also had a good effort blocked.

Guildford’s first-half efforts had deserved some reward and there was still a sense that a recovery was possible for the visitors. Croydon did look stronger after the break and City weren’t as effective going forward. But the home side’s third goal was a poor goal to concede. A giant clearance from Oshane Brown in the home goal was allowed to bounce on the edge of City's box. Croydon’s new signing Richard Pingling gained possession by the byline, and somehow was able to shoot home from the most acute of angles.

It became four goals in the 64th minute. Confusion in defence gave new signing Tom Collins from Kingstonian a shooting chance which entered the net a little too easily. For City substitute Jack Phillips saw a hurried volley saved by Brown, before the scoring was concluded for the day by the best finish of the afternoon when Collins neatly lobbed the ball home from 25 yards out.

City came close in the final moments when Shane Johnson’s flick gave Mitchell a shooting chance which was well blocked for a corner, from which Leo Anthony also saw an effort blocked by a home defence that was determined not to concede a goal.

The defeat – which was City’s fourth in a row in the league – leaves Guildford in 17th place in the Combined Counties Premier Division South. City have picked up 28 points from their 34 league games, and are seven points clear of bottom side Colliers Wood United.

Guildford were frustrated by the weather last Thursday night (March 28) when their Aldershot Senior Cup quarter-final tie at Isthmian League South Central Division outfit Badshot Lea was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Next up for City is a home game against mid-table Tooting & Mitcham United in the Combined Counties Premier Division South on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

Guildford City: Mac Chisholm, Lewis Taylor, Callum Sullivan (Leo Anthony 59), Jake Heighes, James Glover, Niall Stillwell (Shane Johnson 59), Anthony Ogbanufe (Tolu Ajayi-Obe 59), Shiloh Ndiulor, Ben Mitchell, Jamie Hilton, Leon Dadey (Jack Phillips 57). Unused substitute: Chris Adams.

Referee: Tolga Inanc.

Attendance: 121.

By Barry Underwood