Godalming Town were bailed out by two stalwarts as Graeme Purdy and Darren Wheeler grabbed late goals to secure a first away win since August at struggling Aylesbury United.
High winds swept around Thame United’s Meadow View Park as a low-quality affair produced little footballing class, indeed the first goal coming after Richard Ossai’s mistake gifted the Ducks a second-half lead. However, a similar poor moment of goalkeeping by ex-G Zaki Oualah allowed captain Purdy to level, before perennial saviour Wheeler bagged a fine winner with less than 10 minutes remaining.
The visitors had suffered the departure of George Frith, perhaps the most consistent performer this season and stand out against Leighton last weekend, before the game and lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Danny Bassett partnering Purdy up front.
Despite starting the game one place above the relegation zone the hosts had won their last two games, both at their new temporary home, and came very close to taking a 3rd minute lead, Ossai at full stretch to tip Jake Bewley’s long-range effort onto the bar.
The howling wind gave any high balls a life of their own, and both sides struggled to assert themselves on the game. The Gs first chance of note came when Tom Willment had a header deflected over, with Bassett cutting in and shooting wide shortly after. With 4 goals in his last 2 games Bassett was looking the most likely to create anything for the visitors, and he was the instigator of their best chance of the opening 45. The striker did well before laying the ball off to Chris Musgrove on the right, and his deep cross was met by Purdy with a thundering header that crashed back off the bar.
Some of the crowd braving the conditions were still returning from the bar when the Ducks took the lead, in comical fashion. Greg Williams’ weak effort took a clip off Ashley Lloyd but still looked set to trickle into Ossai’s hands, but the ball somehow squirmed underneath him, and crept over the line. It was a red-faced moment for the Gs custodian, and a rare one too, but it gave Aylesbury much hope of a 3rd straight home win.
In the 63rd minute a short back-pass by Ricky Brown, making his league debut for the Ducks, saw Bassett with a chance to level but Oualah made a smart save with his legs before Louis Hutton drilled the rebound wide. At the other end Danny Jones saw his free kick clip off the wall before flying wide.
An equaliser wasn’t looking likely but Godalming were awarded a route back in to the game when their former stopper Oualah failed to control a forceful Jack Wood back-pass, and the loose ball fell straight to Purdy who gobbled up the opportunity from close range.
The breeze was relentless but by this point the game had come alive, and with the wind in their sails the Gs looked to attack with gusto as they searched for a winner. Purdy forced Oualah into a save with his legs but the stopper could do little about the winner that game with just 9 minutes remaining.
Godalming took a throw in on the right, despite having players in offside positions when it was won, and the ball was worked over to Wheeler just inside the box. Ever the Raumdeuter he was somehow in space, and proceeded to create more, as he skipped past Brown with dazzling feet. The winger then unleashed a stunning left-footed finish, accurate and ferocious, that illuminated even this greyest of December afternoons as it harpooned into the back of the net.
From his 8 goals this season the winger has secured no less than 9 league points and 2 cup progressions, with his latest winner moving the Gs up to 16th in the table. Andy Hunt’s men travel to Northwood on Tuesday night before Egham Town visit on Saturday.
Goals: Williams 46’; Purdy 76’, Wheeler 81’
XI: Ossai; Musgrove (Roberts 66’), Gray, Willment, Lloyd; W. Hutton, Wheeler, Laidler, L. Hutton; Purdy, Bassett (Masembe 88’).
Not used: Wales