Godalming 1 – 1 St Ives
12th place Godalming hosted 2nd placed St Ives at Wey Court today.
The G’s starting line up was without talisman Graeme Purdy, who was unavailable and Chris Wales who is still recovering from injury. A new number 9 featured for the G’s in the shape of Joao Andrade in an otherwise unchanged line-up from the squad that took all three points against Beaconsfield.
Haluna Mesembe, Danny Bassett, Liam Robert, and new signing from Guildford Matt Anton all on the bench.
The opening exchanges saw the G’s the livelier of the two teams with first an attempted chip of the St Ives keper Tim Trebes by the G’s captain Louis Hutton, them a half chance that fell to Andrade but he could not convert.
Then a great cross from Wheeler on the left, which Will Hutton met well with his head only to see the ball clear the bar.
Only minutes later another Wheeler run and cross, deeper this time, saw the onrushing Hutton again but at the far post make contact on the volley but again the shot from close range went just past the post.
30 Minutes into the first half Ashley Lloyd was penalised and booked for a tackle deep in St Ives half. The resulting free kick was played long into the G’s half and found the St Ives No 10 wide on the left hand side of the G’s goal. He was able to move across the despairing tackles from the G’s defenders and found space for a low shot that beat Oneal Garnes to his right hand side.
The goal came rather against the run of play and apart from one header over the bar from a corner was the only real threat on the G’s goal up until then.
Things then got worse for the Gs when Will Hutton was sent off for what the referee saw as a kick at a St Ives player.
Soon after the StIves team who were quick to break in number saw there No6 fire over from inside the area.
5 minutes after the break Louis Hutton worked his way forward in the middle of the park and unleashed a shot from 35 yards out reminiscent of his spectacular strike against Rushden and Diamonds earlier in the season that dipped dramatically and crashed into the crossbar. The ball bounced down and in the panic that ensued a St Ives defender handled the ball and the referee awarded a penalty to the G’s.
The G’s resident magician Darren Wheeler converted confidently from the spot low to the keepers left hand side and the score was levelled.
Within minutes St Ives mounted another quick break and attacked which required Chris Musgrove to make a timely last ditch clearance inside the G’s penalty area.
Oneal Garnes G’s keeper showed his growing confidence under the high ball and was also tested with one fine save. Otherwise the G’s defence looked pretty well organised.
Then at the other end of the pitch Darren Wheeler again managed to slip a neat pass into Joao Andrade in front of goal for him to produce a neat back heal that was saved initially by Tim Trebes legs from close range.
With around 15 minutes left Darren Wheeler was replaced by Danny Basset who immediately gave renewed impetus up front. Other substitutions followed with Liam Roberts coming on for Charlie Hutton at right back who had made some crucial interceptions and Matt Anton made his Wey Court debut.
With this the G’s played with three at the back and the two wing backs making runs down the wings producing dangerous crosses into the area putting more pressure on the St Ives goal. Nick Hutchings, having another super game, went close with a right footed attempt that drifted just past the far post
Matt Anton looked very lively and was causing problems for defenders in the short time he was on the pitch and seems a promising prospect for the future as does Joao Andrade.
It was another excellent team performance all round from the squad reduced to ten men for two thirds of the game and at the end they were the ones who looked most likely to get the winner.
Written by Graham Harris