Godalming 5 – 2 Farnham (Div 1 Cup)
What a game! What a performance! What a result! What a hat-trick!
Donte with the match ball
OK it was a League cup match, rather than in the League, but still one that will undoubtedly remain in the memory. It was a great game on Saturday getting a result against Ash but in fairness they were not that strong a side.
Farnham however were riding at the top of the table (behind only Jersey who seem to be running away with things) and have not been beaten in the last 6 games. On top of that with the sudden departure of Les there was a lot of nervousness around The Bill Kyte Stadium.
What a relief to see that the team that appeared on Saturday apart from Kenny were largely listed as present and correct and included a new goalie in Adrian Giles and the return of Ryan Villa and Reece Weekes who appeared for the Gs last season so impressively.
The Gs lined up with Darren on one wing and Ryan on the other, Donte at number 9 in the middle. Reece Weeks at number 10 Richie Mbele and Ben Bauchop in the boiler room, Rory Sellick rightly wearing the captain’s armband alongside Reegan Scotcher as the centre back pairing. Raisan Francis at left back and Don Hardisty at right back and Adrian Giles between the posts.
On the bench were strong replacements in Jordan Cavender, Elijah Carter and Saul Grant.
There was a good crowd for a Tuesday and a great atmosphere. Despite the sudden drop in temperature there was the Gs talisman Dave Fidler (aka Shorts man) still proclaiming that it was not cold, despite everyone else being well wrapped and trying to stop their teeth chattering.
After an absolutely frantic start by both sides the visitors went ahead after about 11 minutes. Captain Rory seemed to make a typical timely brave interception to break up the attack, but the ball broke well to the visitors and they went one up. I don’t think too many of us were that surprised and felt that it could be a long evening.
But then something started to happen. A minor miracle, as the lads seemed to find their feet and get up to speed. When I say get up to speed, I mean just that. It was clear that we had far more pace about us all over the pitch than we have seen lately, both when on and off the ball. We developed a couple of good attacks and Ben Bauchop went close with a shot that missed the target as the Gs attacked the goal at the road end.
Donte was getting into the game and Reece was starting to motor around the pitch. He got onto the ball, wide of the goal, on our right flank and cut into the area and hit a good shot that seemed to go through the keeper’s legs and then hit the post and bounced out. We were all getting quite worked up now at what we were seeing on the pitch as the Gs kept ramping up the pace and the pressure on their visitors’ goal.
Then after another period of fine build up play Ben Bauchop was getting forward and was able to get a shot in that levelled the score. No more than we deserved and even one of the Farnham centre backs commented, to us behind the goal, that the lads were playing well as they took up a defensive position for a corner under pressure from the Gs again.
Ben again got himself forward and hit another shot that came back off the post and found its way towards Donte who produced some fancy footwork to make some space before slotting the ball home for a second goal for the Gs. By now the Gs were becoming rampant.
All over the pitch we were quicker to the ball and Farnham had no idea where the next attack would come from. Down either wing where Ryan and Darren were giving the visitors problems? Or down the middle? We had too much talent for them to deal with. Donte got in another shot that brought a save from the Farnham keeper who must have felt a bit like that Dutch boy who had his finger in the hole in the dyke.
I am sure that most of us felt that that was a great first half performance, which we had no right to expect. If it had gone downhill second half, we could have still been happy with what we had seen in the first. Having seen us concede so often around the halfway mark we had our fingers crossed.
But, with the mist starting to develop on the pitch the Gs started well in the second half. Donte got on to the ball again and worked his way into the box before hitting a shot that the keeper got his hands to, but he could not stop it finding its way into the net. Now 3 -1 up we could not believe what was happening in front of us. Farnham were clearly being battered by the home team who had simply too much pace, energy and talent all over the pitch in this young squad who were playing with freedom and delighting the home supporters.
Richie Mbele was making some telling passes out wide and through the middle. In Defence Rory and Reegan were soaking up anything that came their way while also licking their lips at the thought of having a crack at goal at set pieces. Dom was comfortable as always and Raisan was working well down the left with Darren.
Darren, like on Saturday was showing us again just how much talent he still has and turned his markers time after time. He got a great cross in from the left across the face of the goal and Donte was sliding in at pace and just failed to make contact by inches.
So, minutes later Darren danced past a few defenders as he cut in from the left and hit yet another peach of a left footed curling shot with the outside of his boot, that found its way into the net on the far side. This spontaneously brought about several choruses of “G Army” chant, which was clearly enjoyed by the players, while they were celebrating Darren’s special talent. Its been a while since we enjoyed a game like this and the whole team were doing their thing and playing their socks off and clearly enjoying it. Now 4-1 up and it could have been more.
Farnham were now playing for pride and with the Gs players now queuing up to score there were some holes at the back and Adrian had to be on his toes to make a good save. The Gs were still looking for more goals and running the visitor ragged at times. Ben Bauchop made another good run through the middle before unselfishly squaring the ball to Donte for him to slot the ball home for a hat trick on the night.
Darren then felt the need to be subbed off and on came Jordan Cavender, which meant there was no let up in pressure at all as he took over menacing the visitors with even more pace. We were all asking each other – is this real or am I going to wake up and realise that this is a dream?
In fairness to Farnham at the death they got themselves a consolation second goal when they managed a high cross from their left to beyond the far post. From here the ball was laid back for a shot from close range that hit the target. Reece got another shot in that the keeper had to parry out and Richie came close with a shot that was blocked on the 6yard line.
An unbelievable result and an experience that was so enjoyable. So good to see that lads happy as they were cheered off the pitch and enjoyed a few drinks in the bar after. Well drinks of Coke, water and even the odd J2O. They certainly know how to enjoy themselves these youngsters. How things have changed, but probably for the best.
But all credit them all. From Adrian in goal to the guys up front every one of them gave one hundred per cent and definitely did the fans proud, far more than we had any right to expect. Great stuff.
The best performance by far for ages. Onwards and upwards as they go off to AFC Hayes on Saturday.