East Grinstead 2 – 2 Godalming Town (G’s go through 6-5 on penalties)
Godalming battled their way through to the next round of the League Cup last night against fellow strugglers in the League East Grinstead, finally winning after a penalty shootout. Despite expecting extra time the game went straight to penalties as East Grinstead Town have a 9:30 curfew on their flootlights
On a very warm and humid night under a pale moon in East Grinstead the G’s made a bright start with a new partnership of Graeme Purdy and Matt Anton up front, Darren Wheeler just behind them with Rory Sellick and newcomer Connor Gales in the midfield with Goncalves Christiano replacing the injured Ashley Lloyd who has been so pivotal for the G’s recently. Chris Wales was at right back with George Spiers and Chris Musgrove as the centre back pairing and Nick Hutchings at left back. The result of this was that Purdy, despite appearing to pick up a knock early on, was able to win a few of the early balls and get a few flicks on for Matt to chase. After a good run on the left by Connor Gales in the number 7 shirt for the G’s he squared the ball to captain Purdy who was clumsily brought down in the box by a pair of defenders, leaving the spot kick for Darren to take, putting it comfortably past the home keeper after about 11 minutes. G’s 1-0 up.
Despite G’s continuing to play well and probably shading possession, on the first meaningful attack by the home side their number 8 hit a stunning curling shot from well outside the box finding the top right hand corner of Oneal Garnes net to equalise.
The G’s continued to look menacing with much more support up and around Purdy than we have seen in the past. East Grinstead were quick to break, as seems to be case with many teams in this league and on occasions did move the ball well and only a super one-handed save from Oneal Garnes from close range kept the scores level.
Purdy seemed to be struggling with an injury, but soldiered on. Goncalves was taken off by the referee for treatment for a blood injury and on about 25 minutes Chris Musgrove was felled taking a full blown clearance from his own advancing keeper full in the face. The East Grinstead physio was quick to attend to him and he was gratefully restored after a few minutes.
With around 10 minutes of the first half remaining Chris Musgrove made a good tackle, but required treatment for an ankle injury. Again, despite fears, he was able to continue.
So the half time score was 1- 1 and the G’s had finished it brightly with another attack and a Graeme Purdy shot to finish towards the end.
After a few minutes of the second half Chris Musgrove finally left the pitch, which meant that Chris Wales moved to centre back and Nick Medcraft came on to take his place at right back.
On 70 minutes, Gales who appeared to be having a good debut game was replaced by the other newcomer Ademiju Toyosi.
With some 15 minutes left to go captain Graham Purdy was substituted for Luke Perkins up front with Darren Wheeler taking the captain’s armband.
In the dying moments a mistake in the G’s defence allowed the ball out to the East Grinstead left, which was pulled back from close range for an easy goal that appeared to spell defeat for the visitors.
With only moments left the G’s produced some more good attacking play with Luke Perkins coming very close and moments later the ball bobbled around in East Grinstead’s area and the tireless youngster Rory Sellick managed to poke the ball home to level the score at 2 – 2.
So not a pretty performance, but a gutsy one, which showed some character.
Then to the penalty shoot-out:-
Apart from Darren Wheeler and Matt Anton, three of the first 5 penalty takers were from the G’s defence being Chris Wales, Nick Hutchings and Nick Medcraft all of whom did their stuff. Oneal Garnes made a super save only to see the home team keeper save from Matt Anton.
It then went to sudden death where Luke Perkins and others scored, (to be honest I lost count then) but the home team keeper made another save from Ademiju Toyosi before they hit the post and then on another attempt Oneal made another cracking save to resolve the game.