Two teams in greatly contrasting form played out a goalless draw at Wey Court.
The Gs will take heart from a steely defensive performance that secured a clean sheet for the first time in 17 matches against a Trees team unbeaten in 5, a run that included a win over leaders Kettering. Indeed the hosts shaded the cagey affair though they failed to seriously test Berkley Laurencin in the visiting goal.
After George Short picked up an injury during the New Year’s Day defeat at Uxbridge, and with Will Hutton serving the first of his three match ban, Steve Brown started in midfield along with Antonio Simeone, who returned as captain. With Chris Wales unavailable Charlie Hutton started for the first time in 3 months and Graeme Purdy was named in attack.
The aforementioned run by Northwood, which included 3 wins, has seen the Middlesex club climb above the Gs into 11th but it was the hosts who had the first shot on target with Darren Wheeler lobbing the ball into Laurencin’s hands less than a minute in.
At the other end Michael Murray dragged an effort wide before Jack Mazzone saw his acrobatic volley held by Laurencin. Niko Muir then went close for Northwood, the striker’s quality control and consequent lob not quite dropping under the crossbar for a 6th goal since signing from Wingate & Finchley earlier in the season.
In the 24th minute Godalming had a great chance to take the lead when Purdy flicked on a Nick Hutchings cross to Wheeler at the far post, but the winger’s powerful volley flew over. 3 minutes later the Gs spurned another opening as Hutchings again delivered a dangerous ball, this time Mark Burgess’ weak header falling to Purdy who shot into the side netting.
Muir fired wide again before some neat passing from the hosts resulted in Wheeler volleying wide. In the 38th minute Purdy again had a decent chance having been played in by Liam Roberts but the striker fired straight at Laurencin when one on one.
With four minutes until the break Northwood’s Steve Brown deflected another Purdy effort inches wide, and Godalming continued to offer the greater threat after half time with Wheeler providing Laurencin with another easy save after the winger demonstrated quick feet to create space for a shot inside the box.
Murray fired off target in the 53rd minute before the Gs went close again, this time Roberts’s well struck first-time volley flying just wide. In the 68th minute Murray set up Muir for a close-range header but the striker nodded the ball comfortably into Richard Ossai’s arms, when he should really have scored. A minute later and Ossai had to make another save, this time Murray being denied by the Godalming stopper.
The host’s best chance of the game came and went in the 70th minute. Darren Wheeler broke the offside trap and was hurtling through on goal but Laurencin was swift off his line and, as Wheeler tried to round him, produced a brave save as he smothered the ball at the Godalming player’s feet.
The intensity of the game rose as the clock ticked down but the Gs mustered just one more serious chance, substitute Adam Cornell seeing his shot deflected wide by Brown, and in the end the hosts settled for a point that keeps them in 12th place.
Godalming travel to Royston Town on Tuesday night for a re-arranged league game with the Crows on a high after an impressive win at home to in-form Aylesbury. Andy Hunt’s men then host Beaconsfield SYCOB, a bogey team this campaign, at Wey Court on Sunday 17th.
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Hutchings, Willment, Lloyd; Brown, Simeone; Roberts; Mazzone (Frith 74’), Wheeler, Purdy (Cornell 61’)
Substitutes not used: Lunn, Musgrove