Abbey Rangers (A)

Abbey Rangers 1 v 1 Godalming

(Written by Dave Ewing)

Graham was unable to make the match against Abbey and asked if I could write a few words about the match. I have neither a Dictaphone nor a degree on regurgitated gobbledygook (to interpret what gets played back from a Dictaphone) to help record the events of the night. I am relying on what I remember and a couple of scrawls on Michael’s stats board so apologies of the report is more of an impression than an account.

Firstly Abbey Rangers have a nice set up conveniently located just off junction 11. Andrew and his sat-nav tried to make the journey more complicated than it actually was by taking us on a tour of downtown Addlestone but the ground is actually very easy to access. Once again Football foundation money has gone to create a modern set of facilities with a bespoke building housing changing facilities, catering unit and a modern bar/social space with a terrace overlooking the ground complete with astro turf flooring and netting to avoid wayward shots spilling punters bevvies. Even the Bovril was served in designer Bovril branded cups- just like at the big grounds but at half the price!

The game started briskly and Godalming passed the ball cleanly linking well and looking bright. However Abbey were the first to show real menace. They had several strong breaks thwarted by the Godalming defence and won a few corners in that early period . Godalming had less of the ball but looked sharp going forward. Hakim in particular was able to suck in two or three defenders at a time and still emerge with the ball at his feet. However Abbey definitely had the upper hand when in the 24th minute Lewis Taylor powered a cracking low shot from well outside the box that left the Rangers players stunned. Against the run of play it was 1-0 Godalming!

The next 5 minutes should have seen Abbey equalise when a couple of defensive lapses – careless back passing and misunderstandings- gifted them easy chances that they failed to take. Their inability to make good seemed to knock Abbey and Godalming ended the half the stronger team creating more pressure up front and winning a corner or two of their own.
The second half started with Godalming still looking the more composed team. Abbey pushed forward but were thwarted by solid and disciplined defending seeing the attackers caught offside all too often. Godalming created a couple of chances of their own. Darren nearly chipped the keeper from the halfway line – the keeper caught sight of the ball just in time and back tracked fast enough to clear it but had that gone in the game would have been sealed. Captain Lewis stormed through the defence on a blistering run that sadly did not end in a shot and Shawn Lyle’s pace and agility was causing all sorts of problems both to the Rangers defence and the ref who seemed a bit down on Shawn.

75 minutes in and it looked like Godalming might hang on for the three points. They had soaked up the pressure and were starting to break back positively. Godalming have looked the fitter team in recent fixtures and this was no exception. However the pace of the game was stopped a couple of times as the ref and linesman discussed a few infringements. After one such hiatus the ever reliable Aaron in goal sliced a spot kick out of the ground about half way giving Abbey an innocuous throw in. What then followed was an attack that saw them thread the ball through a seemingly static Godalming defence that ended with pass to Kersley who produced a fine shot to secure the equaliser. 84 minutes in and 1-1. Godalming ended the game the more likely team to score a winner with a couple of late corners keeping the fans on their toes but there was no late cigar for the Gees.

On balance 1-1 was a good result. Abbey spurned some great chances in the first half and the team felt aggrieved not to have won the game. Godalming played well and nearly held onto their lead in good old fashioned Italian style through good defending. But Addlestone is a long way from Milan and the game at Combined Counties level a bit less “bella” than Serie A so Abbey’s graft got the goal. Nice ground, good game and driving home we were treated to the unusual spectacle of a completely empty A 3 through Guildford. A glimpse of what life would have been like if people had not gone and inconveniently plonked a city guising as a town of 140 000 people between Godalming and the M25.

Micheal’s Stats

Abbey Rangers     G’s
attempts                       10                   14
on target                         5                    4
corners                          10                    5
fouls                               18                    9
poss% 1st                      58                   42
Poss % 2nd                    50                  50
yellows                             2                    1