A breathtaking Playoff Semi final culminated in Ben Johnson scoring from the spot to put Bognor into the Final.
The Gs kept an unchanged team from the previous three games, and it was Godalming who made the brighter start with Scott Harris forcing a reflex save from Craig Stoner. Dan Read then header over a Darren Wheeler cross at the back post. As expected, Bognor began to grow into the game, and Dan Beck fired a low shot which beat Kyle Merson, but hit the base of the post. After a spell of pressure, the ball dropped to Ashley Robinson who fired an unstoppable volley just inside the post to give Bognor the lead on 33 minutes.
Godalming snatched an equaliser in the 63rd minute, when Jamie McClurg’s shot fell just in front of Scott Harris, who slid the ball into the net from close range. The Gs grew in confidence, and ten minutes later they were in dreamland. The ball came to Brett Cooper 20 yards out, who fired an unstoppable effort past Stoner into the corner. Two minutes later however, the tie was all square when Terry Dodd slid the ball past Merson one on one. It was then Bognor’s turn to head to dreamland, when Steve Harper’s cross was met by Ashley Robinson, who made no mistake with the finish to put the Rocks 3-2 up. Just as it seemed that was the end of the action, Gs captain Adam Foulser popped up with a far post volley in the 92nd minute to send the Godalming team and fans into delirium.
Scott Harris struck again for Godalming 7 minutes into injury time; his shot deflecting off the defender and over Stoner into the back of the net. 5 minutes later Warren Harris was judged to have stopped a shot on the line with his arm, and was sent off. Ashley Robinson converted the spot kick to make it 4-4. The ten men of Godalming held on for the rest of extra time, forcing the game into penalties.
Robinson gave Bognor the lead, scoring his second spot-kick of the night before Scott Harris coolly made it 1-1. James Crane and Wes Harrison both then scored – but after Harper made it 3-2, Stoner guessed right and dived to his left ot keep out Ben Edwards’ effort. Dan Beck then stepped up to make it 4-2. McClurg kept the Gs in it by converting his, but Ben Johnson scored the decisive spot kick, setting up a Playoff Final between Bognor and Dulwich Hamlet, this coming Sunday.
Godalming can look back on the season with immense pride, with this performance typifying the incredible spirit, effort and desire shown throughout the season. Jon and Neil must be congratulated for putting together a side that the whole Town can be proud of.
Godalming: Merson, Hollis, Lake (Dyer), Harrison, Foulser, Edwards, Read (Palmer), McClurg, S Harris, Wheeler (Cooper), W Harris. Subs: Simeone, Cooper, Short, Palmer, Dyer.
Bognor: Stoner, Crane, Wollers, Whyte, Cobbs, Andrews, Beck, Wills, Robinson, Dodd, Johnson. Subs: Harper, Marzetti, Sheriff, Simmonds, Boyle.