- Penned by Dave
Banstead Athletic 2-2 Godalming
My build up to the weekend started on Thursday evening. I work with Darren Bird, who used to be a defender at both Kingstonian and Dorking back in the 80’s. Chatting after work he recalled that Banstead Athletic were a notoriously difficult team to beat at home and referred to Merland Rise as a “graveyard- because you never took anything away from it”. Ominous.
Fast forward to Saturday. A train trip for young Michael and I and there we were- at Merland Rise. No tombstones but a nice bar (with Bovril – but no pepper) and a pitch that could only look flat after dark. It did feel a bit ghostly on arrival. Once again the travelling Gees fans seem to make up at least half of the throng. But were we there as mourners or could we buck the curse?
The match started in brisk style. The Gees made their intentions clear when Bobby Bennet struck an early shot that hit the back of the net but was ruled offside. More chances followed but the energy and desire to win came at a cost. Banstead spurned one great chance at about 15 minutes in. The Gees defence was caught out of position and Banstead broke unchallenged only to spurn the chance with a poor final cross. But the writing was on the wall and on the 19th minute their no. 9 scored after a similarly unopposed break (sorry – can’t find a Banstead team sheet online). Godalming continued to push and rained attempts on the Banstead goal. Michael’s stats give some idea of the amount of chances Godalming were creating but the finishing was not clinical enough. Bansted soaked up the pressure and created one more break that would have killed the match had it gone in.
It was all too familiar. Godalming had the best of the chances, pushed hard and were down at half time. However the management team reacted positively. Eugene Bongo, who seemed less effective than of late, was replaced by Luke Elgar just before half time.
HT Banstead Athletic 1-0 Godalming
Going into the second half the defence seemed stronger – which was needed as Bansted pushed hard in the first 10 minutes trying to secure a win. However Godalming were just too good. They continued to press the Bansetad goal and on the 59th minute Robert Webbe made no mistake as he drilled a half cleared ball into the back of the net. Godalming had made 18 attempts on goal when finally one went in! The Gees looked more and more dangerous as the half went on. The bench replaced Estaban Salgado who had caused all kinds of problems for the Banstead defence with Shawn Lyle – returning after suspension. Shawn quickly created his own problems for Banstead and looked menacing from the off. 5 minutes later after a screaming run at the Bansetad goal Shawn did what others had not – he took his time and placed the ball right in the back of the net. 2-1 up and deservedly so!
The G’s continued to dominate the game. Bobby Bennet and Piers Oldland both engineered several great moves forward and It would have been all over if Shawn Lyle had made better contact with a great Bobby Bennet cross. However fate can be cruel. Into injury time Ross shouted to Captain Lewis “Two minutes to go”. “Two minutes too long!” was the reply and so it proved. Banstead went on a final break and almost sleepwalked the ball into the back of the net. 2-2 with no time to recover!
A look at the stats tells the story. The Gees had beaten the curse of Merland and dug a point out of the day. The team were aggressive and exciting in attack. We were not buried in the cemetery but we are not working in a goalmine quite yet. Thanks to the squad for providing us with an exciting and positive day out and as this squad get more confident in their own abilities the future’s bright – it may even be yellow!
Micheal (stato) Stats
Teams Banstead G’s
Attempts 9 25
on Target 5 12
Corners 3 3
Fouls 12 9