Godalming Town lost their 5th straight away game as local rivals Fleet Town, on the back of 8 consecutive losses, ran out 2-1 winners in an open contest at Calthorpe Park that ended in the Gs playing with 10 men after captain Graeme Purdy was sent off.
The hosts were quick out the blocks and took advantage of a disorganised visiting defence to race into a 2 goal lead just 15 minute in, Simba Mlambo and Josh Harfield scoring. Louis Hutton quickly pulled one back and the game was littered with chances for both sides until the final whistle, by which point the Gs were a man down, when more misery was confirmed for Andy Hunt’s side as they slipped just 4 points above the relegation zone.
It took just 2 minutes for Fleet to score, player-manager Craig Davis swinging in a free kick that unmarked captain Mlambo powerfully headed past Richard Ossai. George Frith shot at Ryan Pryce shortly after but it was the out of form hosts who got the next goal, Ben White’s cross met by Harefield on the stretch, and despite Ossai getting a glove to the ball it flew into the net.
Godalming however responded immediately, Darren Wheeler crossing from the right with the clearance going straight to Hutton, who blasted a first-time shot past Pryce. The helter-skelter game could have been level at 2-2 just 24 minutes in, Purdy heading onto the post, though Fleet could have made it 3 seconds later as Tom Willment did well to clear a Mlambo effort off the line.
The tricky Mlambo was a thorn for the Gs all night, just the kind of striking option Godalming could do with, and he stabbed an effort wide before Wheeler’s excellently struck volley from a Liam Roberts pass fizzed just wide of the far post in the 36th minute. Mlambo headed a corner wide before, moments after the restart, Roberts drilled an angled effort off target.
The huge amount of chances were perhaps to be expected in a game between two struggling sides, though opportunities began to dry up before a remarkable red card just after the hour mark. Willment voiced his opinion on a lack of movement in attack and Purdy responded to him with expletives, with referee William Bull quick to produce the red card. With no other strikers in the squad Willment, now with the armband, was moved up front as the Gs desperately tried to conjure up a plan to salvage a result.
It was in fact Fleet who should have scored, Mlambo heading a golden opportunity wide with 14 minutes to go. The Gs huffed and puffed but failed to create a chance of note with another disappointing defeat ultimately unavoidable.
Scorers: Mlambo 2’, Harefield 15’; Huton 17’
Gs XI: Ossai, Musgrove, Gray, Willment, Lloyd, Roberts (McGarry 65’), Laidler, Frith (Lewington 80’), Wheeler, Hutton, Purdy.
Not used: Hutchings, Edwards, Powell.