Godalming Town’s 6 game unbeaten run was ended by the league leaders as Kettering ran out somewhat fortuitous 1-0 winners at Wey Court.
With important players missing Godalming fought well against the title favourites though the Poppies shaded the opening 45, which they ended a goal up after Josh Moreman’s long-range strike. The Gs pressed in the second half but despite creating chances didn’t level, ultimately falling to their first home defeat in over 2 months.
Godalming were suffering from a lengthy list of absentees with, after the recent bout of red cards, Will Hutton, Liam Roberts and Graeme Purdy all suspended. Furthermore two of the Gs key men were missing with Darren Wheeler (hamstring injury) and Ashley Lloyd (celebrating the birth of his child) not in the squad.
The Poppies had brought a sizeable following contingent and they came close to celebrating a number of times in the opening 10 minutes. Brett Solkhon hooked an effort over early on before, in the 6th minute, Tom Willment accidently gave the ball to Elliot Sandy and the big striker rounded Richard Ossai only to see the backtracking Willment hook his eventual shot off the line. From the corner Solkhon headed into Ossai’s arms when unmarked.
Godalming were unlucky to leave Latimer Park without a point in November they began to come into the game with Jack Howard, making his second start, shooting wide from distance. Chances became scarce with the Gs keeping the visitors in check though they had a goal ruled out in the 32nd minute, Sandy’s handball in the build-up denying Moreman.
The same player then forced Ossai into a great save to his left before Steve Kinniburgh bent an effort over from distance. With half time approaching the Poppies found a breakthrough, Moreman getting on the scoresheet at the third attempt. After Charlie Hutton fouled David Kolodynski on the edge of the box the Gs faced the possibility of conceding a 3rd free kick in 3 games. However James Jepson’s effort hit the wall but fell to Moreman who, on the volley, fired a low effort in off the far post for his 5th goal of the season.
The hosts made a good start to the second half and after excellent persistence from Adam Cornell won a free kick in the left channel, Tom Willment headed George Frith’s delivery over when well placed. In the 65th minute Nick Hutchings came close to a rare goal, Jack Mazzone knocking the ball down for the full-back to fire a right-footed volley just wide.
Solkhon headed a Jepson cross over before Cornell nodded a Steve Brown free kick narrowly past the post. As the game entered its latter stages Godalming began to press for an equaliser, taking the game to Kettering. With 17 minutes to go Willment had another chance to level from a free kick but his first header was blocked by Solkhon before his second attempt was hacked clear.
Willment was offering a good threat from set pieces and in the 82nd minute his blocked shot resulted in Frith firing over. With 2 minutes to go Frith brought the ball down and played Howard in but his fizzing effort flew into the side netting.
It had been a spirited finish from Godalming and in stoppage time their best chance to level came and went. Jack Mazzone had worked hard all game without having many opportunities and he was played through in the 5th minute of injury time. Richard Knight came racing off his line and produced a fantastic, match-winning save to deny the Gs striker a 16th goal of the season.
Whilst disappointed at not gaining a point Godalming will look to bounce back and regain their recent good form away to struggling North Greenford United on Tuesday night. They then face a tough test on Saturday 7th, making the 260 mile round-trip to take on 2nd place Bedworth United.
Scorers: Moreman 42’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Hutchings, Musgrove, Willment; Howard, Frith, Brown, Simeone (Wales 78’); Mazzone, Cornell.
Substitutes not used: Wigley.