Epsom and Ewell 3 – 2 Godalming
One of the interesting things about Non-League football is that you never really know who is going to turn up for the game from week to week. Last Saturday I had not expected the game to be on in view of the incessant rain that had been falling for a few days. But “The Sponge” as Chessington call their pitch, has a superb drainage system that actually works.
On arrival and seeing the squad warming up it was clear that there were some of the “regulars” from the last few games missing. Indeed, we had 11 in the starting line up and 2 on the bench including Matt Kerbey a very fine goal keeper and Craig Adu-Adjei on the bench.
It was a clear change of line up with no wingers at all. No Darren Wheeler, Kenny Kassabanty or Jeff Yohou. Perhaps forced by circumstance or “a cunning plan”. We need one or two of those.
Talking of wingers, it was a chance to see once again the Gs fans favourite of last season Bobby Bennett and we know how good he is. Pity he would not be in a yellow shirt.
In front of Jordan Knight was a back three of Joe Lewis, Curtis Osano and Ashley Wright and the impressive Reegan Scotcher started at right wing back and captain Jordan Bird at left wing back. Jack Howard, Chris Burke and Anthony Myers in the boiler room. With Jack Cleevely supporting Oliver Stevens who was wearing the number 9 shirt again.
It could not have started better for the Gs as within the first 5 minutes Jack Cleevely from a clearance chested the ball down and behind him. Initially the ball appeared to have gone tantalisingly behind Ollie, but as it continued on its course towards the wing, Jordan Bird was racing through and smacked the ball sweetly into the net from some way out.
I for one was struggling to get a description of what was a cracking goal onto my phone when Ollie showed how sharp he is and latched onto a mistake in the E& E defence and put the ball calmly away past the home keeper for a second goal leaving the home side wondering what was happening and those of us watching in unfamiliar territory only 7-8 minutes in.
The Gs were well on top when on 26 minutes Jack Cleevley was on the end of a good move down the left, which found him in front of goal and he put it past the home keeper for a third goal only to be ruled as offside. Three goals up at half time would surely have put the result beyond doubt.
Then just before the break the Salts were awarded a penalty for a foul on their No 7 as he was being shepherded towards the line. The eagle eyed travelling Gs supporters felt that the No 7 was offside anyway when he latched onto the ball as it was played through, but there was no flag from the assistant ref on that side who managed not to see any offsides in the first half. It was Bobby Bennett who took the spot kick and pulled the score back to 1- 2 at the interval.
The Gs were clearly going to have some defending to do as E & E were in 4th place in the League when the game started.
After only a few minutes of the second half a corner on the E & E right was apparently cleared from the Gs goal, but found its way back to the guy taking the corner and he cleverly drove the ball back across the goal low and hard where, of course it was that man Bobbby Bennett who was on the scene to tap it home from close range. Now 2 – 2.
The Gs responded well and Reegan Scotcher was brought into the midfield to try to get back in front. Jordan Bird found another great run down the left getting behind the home defence and hit a powerful shot low and hard which the Salts keeper did well to save at full stretch. If that had found it way in as for Jordan’s first goal it would have been all over I think.
Tackles were coming in thick and fast now as both sides tried to gain the upper hand. Jack Howard needed treatment on the pitch as did Anthony Myers on returning to his old club. The yellow cards started flowing.
After last week’s strange goings on we were treated to yet another rarity in the refereeing department when after a long shot from the E& E left flank appeared to hit the upright and bounce back conveniently to Jordan Knight the referee was happy for play to continue and it did so for a minute or two with the Gs attacking their hosts goal. At that point the referee then decided he would stop the game and consult with his assistant at that end of the pitch finally deciding to award a goal. 3 – 2 to the home side. Never seen that before either.
Free kick to the Gs after a tackle on Ollie Stevens from Steve Bettancourt who earned a yellow card. Minutes later Bettancourt was guilty of another bookable offence and so was dismissed for bringing down Anthony (Freddie) Myers who needed attention on the pitch.
Lots of Gs pressure and Jordan Bird got in an overhead kick, but the ball went wide. Shortly after he followed the Salts captain into the dressing room for his second yellow.
Anthony Myers taken out again as he made a typical charge through the midfield which, after treatment on the pitch saw him carried off and another yellow card for the hosts No 10.
Craig Adu-Adjei comes on to replace Fredddie Myers for the last few minutes.
A good performance all round from the lads who were on the pitch and with them performing well against some of the top teams in the league you would have thought we should pick up points against the lower teams quite easily, but “it’s a funny old game” as someone once said.
attempts 14 8
on target 10 (2 w/work) 6
corners 8 3
fouls 9 (3 o/s) 20 (7 o/s)
poss 1 57 43
poss 2 53 47
yellows 5 6
reds 1 1
Bovril status. Godalming is clearly the wrong side of the downs when it comes to refinement. We were treated to the daintiest tea spooned drop of powdered bovril to create a slightly smoky transparent broth called “eau d’Urn with bovril hints”. The last time I saw a spoon that small was when I got a chemistry set as a kid. But all credit to the staff- it was pleasant in a watery way. Would i trade it for the regular black gunge of salt laden richness? Not in a million years.