Think this was the first trip to Arlesey Town for the G’s supporters who found the ground and facilities very impressive and the home supporters friendly.
On a very gloomy day with continuous light rain the match started with flood lights on from the start. Arlesey Town are to be congratulated on the condition of their pitch, which although a little short of grass in places was in pretty good condition bearing in mind the recent weather.
The Gees were without stalwart centre-back and past captain Tom Willment following his move to Harrow Borough in the Ryman Premier on Thursday. Tom, who has been outstanding at the back
would clearly be missed. But with the obvious replacement, Chris Wales still recovering from injury, who would step into his place?
The mystery was revealed as the teams lined up with the G’s talisman Graeme Purdy wearing number 5 partnering Chris Musgrove at the back.
This left Joao Andrade to continue up front with Liam Roberts playing wide on the right and Darren Wheeler on the left, Steve Laidler and Louis Hutton in the midfield, Charlie Hutton at right back and Nick Hutchings at left back with Oneal Garnes continuing in goal this left Ashley Lloyd in front of the back four, the position he is becoming accustomed to.
The opening exchanges were pretty even. The G’s forcing the first corner. Arlesey mounted their first meaningful attack shortly after, but that was well defended. It showed that they had pace and skill wide on the right hand side. The G’s then failed to clear adequately on a couple of occasions and put pressure on themselves, however the worst result of this was a shot well over the bar.
The opening goal coming to the G’s when they were awarded a free kick wide on the left flank. Louis Hutton floated the ball to the far post where it was met by Chris Musgrove who ghosted in to head past the keeper.
Shortly after another fine build up through the middle, Louis Hutton found himself outside the area with a half chance to lob the home keeper from long range. He only just failed to do so with the keeper back-peddling at full stretch, just tipping the ball over the bar for a corner.
On 27 minutes a good build up down the G’s right side saw Steve Laidler drive towards the area where he played a short square pass to the middle where Louis Hutton fired another shot just past the post.
Soon after Chris Musgrove clearly thought he should try to emulate Ashley Lloyd’s strike at Bedford, but unfortunately could not keep the shot down and his long shot flew over the bar.
Liam Roberts was given a yellow card on 44 minutes, resulting in an Arlesey free kick wide on the right flank halfway between the penalty area and the halfway line. The well struck shot was comfortably saved by Oneal Garnes. One of the Arlesey management team was then sent to the stands by the referee. This was one of several strange decisions by the referee during the first half which was only to be overshadowed by his even stranger decisions in the second which left both sets of supporters questioning his sanity.
Arlesey tried to press forward but failed to come up with any serious shots on goal. Graeme Purdy looked comfortable in his new role making some good defensive headers and came up with some thoughtful distribution from the back.
Half Time:- Arlesey 0 Godalming 1
The G’s started the second half brightly and 5 minutes into the second half had a glorious opportunity to go two up when Joao played the ball in from the left across the edge of the area where Darren Wheeler was running onto it. Unfortunately Darren who you would normally bet your house on to score, was only able to put the ball narrowly wide of the upright far post.
A few minutes later another ball played by Steve Laidler inside the defence saw Darren Wheeler again bearing down on goal and slipping the ball across the face of the goal but the G’s could not convert it.
Another G’s attack saw the hard working Liam Roberts drive into the area only to be clearly brought down before he could shoot. With the travelling supporters calling for what they clearly saw as a penalty. The referee decided to issue a second yellow card to Liam, apparently for simulation, and he then had to leave the pitch. G’s now down to 10 men.
Charlie Hutton then picked up a yellow card for a fairly innocuous tackle 14 minutes into the second half, when an opposition player ran into him and went to ground dramatically after Charlie seemed to have played the ball.
After a free kick was awarded 10 yards outside the G’s area a bit of a fracas ensued following which Louis and a home player were both yellow carded. The resulting free kick was well struck but dealt with well by Oneal Garnes.
Danny Bassett came on for Joao Andrades. Danny was lively and fought well to hold the ball up as had Joao.
For some reason the referee then gave a second yellow card to Charlie Hutton, strangely for apparently taking a throw-in from the wrong place! So the G’s are now down to 9 men.
Despite that the G’s still tried to finish the game off with Darren almost getting his foot to a long free kick from Louis just in front of the advancing home keeper.
In the last minutes the G’s were understandably under the cosh without the home side creating much in the way of clear opportunities. In the 89th minute in one attack managed to get a shot towards the target, which came off a defender and past the G’s keeper to equalise.
So the G’s will feel they should have had all three points today and will have to find replacements for both Liam and Charlie in a couple of weeks time.
Joint MoM:- Graeme Purdy/Louis Hutton.
Match Stats:- By “Stats man Michael”
shots 12 11
O TARGET 5 6
corners 6 3
fouls 10 (2 o/s) 15
poss 1 50 50
poss 2 65 35
bookings 1 4
reds 1(manager) 2