Godalming Town 2 North Greenford 1
Christmas came a few days earlier at Wey Court, where the rejuvenated Gees under the manger-ship of former players Gav Smith and Jon Palmer entertained North Greenford. Despite going behind to a penalty in the first half the Gees came back in the second to take all three points in a thrilling finish to the game.
The first half performance from the home side was at times a bit flat, but that was probably due to the number of new players making their debuts, no less than six including those on the bench.
The home fans however were undoubtedly well in front of the visitor’s supporters on the “Dress for Christmas” front. There can’t be many Santa hats left in the local shops!
Alex Rodrigues, Robert Webbe, Piers Oldland, Rory Sellick and Isy Nzelo all injured. Steve Bettancourt suspended and Ben Cotton ill, hence the need for the new signings.
Dimi Kyriatzis was in goal, newcomer Leavan Sullivan wore the captain’s armband and partnered Josh Kempton as the centre back pairing and newcomer Shaun Smart at right back making up the back four with left back Josh Pound. The returning Jack Howard partnered Lewis Lodge who moved to fill the gap in midfield for his managers. The Gees legend Darren Wheeler was wide on the left with Bobby Bennett on the right and newcomer Kieran Campbell and Hakim Griffiths more central.
The visitors had the upper hand in the first half with the greater possession, but did not really produce much to bother the impressive Dimi Kyriatzis in the Gees goal. They won a penalty towards the end of the first half to go in one up at the break and probably deserved it on the balance of play.
HT Godalming 0-1 North Greenford
However, the Gees started the second half more brightly and Bobby Bennett was looking very threatening cutting in from wide positions at pace.
Early in the second half the Gees went close to levelling the score bringing a good save from the visiting keeper pushing the shot just around the post.
With the new signings Jon and Gav found themselves with options to change the set up and they did. The hard-working Hakim replaced by Ainsley Everett and Darren replaced by Benga Ogunesye. The lively Bobby Bennett nicked the ball off the visiting keeper, but was just unable to score.
The Gees levelled, but as I was recovering a ball I did not witness it. I am reliably informed that it came about when the visiting keeper attempting to clear the ball hit the ball straight at one of his team mates (flooring him) and then made a poor clearance, which Bobby Bennett latched onto and passed to Benga to score. Sorry if that is wrong.
The Gees then stated to play with more freedom and created some good passing moves.
Bobby Bennett worked his way towards the visitor’s box before squaring the ball well to give Benga the chance to score his second, which he took well.
Only minutes later Benga had the opportunity to go for his hat trick, but unselfishly played the ball wide instead and the move broke down. This set the stage for a nail bighting finish for the home fans and they saw Dimi once again somehow keep the ball out in the closing minutes.
Another tremendous come back for the Gees and the gap between the teams above us now almost closed. So, another tremendous job done by all the lads and of course Jon and Gav and their mnagement team. It will not be lost on them though that the job is not yet done, but we do have a competitive team now as we approach some tough games.
Michael (Stato) Stats
Teams G’s North Greenford
Attempts 9 16
On target 6 5
Corners 5 4
fouls 20 16
yellows 2 6
reds 0 1
Poss% 1st 45 55
Poss% 2nd 56 44
Champagne Bovril served at the end – dry yet zingy with a distinct aftertaste of relief.
Video Highlights – https://youtu.be/M6TMN27Tp70