Godalming 1 – 3 Epsom and Ewell
That was a whole lot better than we have seen recently. With an ever-increasing injury list, which included captain Curtis Osano and Chris Burke as the latest casualties, Les had to introduce more new names and faces for this game.
The previous encounter at Chipstead between the two sides saw the Gs two goals up in no time at all, but the match settled by some strange decisions, where the G’s seemed to have bagged a third goal, only for it be ruled offside, E& E then scored from a similarly dubious off side position and the winning goal for E&E was only awarded several minutes after the event when the referee, having waved play on then stopped the game and changed his mind after the event. Thought you could only do that with VAR and although they have an excellent pitch at Chipstead I don’t think it stretches to that.
The Gs had Jordan Knight between the posts and Oghale Ogbaudu returned from injury after his impressive debut at Woking against Sheerwater to lead the back line of Joe Lewis and newcomer Jordan Clement. Another newcomer in the shape of Reece Weekes wore the number 3 shirt but was a sort of roving wide player on the opposite side to Darren Wheeler.
Jack Howard was in front of the back line with another newcomer Richie Mbele. Jack Cleeveley was playing centrally behind Ollie Stevens and another newcomer Donte Lodge-Francis.
On the bench were Samba Betts, Jake Heard, Abdullah Ismail (who we have not seen for months if my memory is correct) Charlie Chennel and Matt Kerbey.
It was a pretty good start from the home side playing towards the road end. But after only 18 minutes the visitors attacked quickly down their right and crossed to their number 9 who had acres of space to pick his spot and put them 1 -0 up. A pity as the new guys and for me Oghale had started so well.
On about half an hour the tall figure of Donte battle to get onto a through ball and found himself one on one with the visiting keeper who pulled of a great save diving low to his left to deny the Gs. One of those “what if” moments that leaves you wondering.
The Gs continued to press their opponents and Reece Weekes was showing some great skill and pace while Darren delivered some quality crosses into the box. But the Gs could not level it before half time. Despite the difference in the league positions it was a very competitive game and could be going either way.
Thirteen minutes into the second half that man Ollie Stevens did it yet again battling for the ball through the middle and despite being floored managed to poke the ball in to bring the score to 1- 1. He has now scored in every game he has played in. What a record Ollie.
It was bound to bring a reaction from Epsom and it did. Only 5 minutes later they attacked down their left and played the ball in low and quickly for was a good goal to put their noses in front again.
The Gs were not done for and continued to make a game of it with all of the new faces doing remarkably well, Donte worked hard upfront Richie Mbele was influencing the midfield and Reece was charming the home crowd with his David Luiz style hair and some great play.
Bobby Bennett however was getting more into the game and we know what a good player he is. Apart from Bobby we saw Hakim Griffiths and Luke Elgar who also wore the G’s shirt along with two of his relations under Gs manager at the time and visiting manager for E&E Simon Funnell.
Darren had been nursing an injury and made way for Sam Betts. The game was getting more open and the action was moving from end to end. Oghale had to help out with a goal line clearance.
The ref felt Bobby Bennett was brought down in the area and so a penalty was awarded, and the visitors went 3 -1 up.
The Gs were coming under more pressure and Jordan Knight was required to tip the ball over the bar from a long-range effort. Unfortunately, the only person who did not see that the Gs keeper got a hand to it was the ref who ignored his linesman and even yellow carded Bennett for his protest in the process.
Sam Betts then had to sit back in defence after Joe Lewis was given a red card for a second offence, presumably for dissent, with about twenty minutes to go (having won a yellow in the first half). That of course made the task even harder for the Gs.
As always Jack Howard worked his socks off and Jack Cleeveley got involved in some of the attractive build up play that we saw. In the end the visitors deserved the result, but it was an exciting game.
Gees Epson & Ewell
attempts 8 16
on target 3 9
corners 1 8
poss 1 50 50
poss 2 47 53
yellows 2 3
Bovril status: Drinks are essentially a product of geography. Aperol makes no sense in Sunderland but perfect sense in Sorento. Bovril was obviously born in Godalming because on a dreich Saturday afternoon the idea of condensing half a cow with a kilo of salt into a cup made perfect sense to me!