Godalming Town lost ground in the race for the playoffs as Barton Rovers, ahead of the Gs on goal difference going into the game, moved three points clear as strikes in each half from Rhys Hoenes and the impressive Keshi Anderson ensured a deserved victory for the Bedfordshire side.
After a fortnight without competitive action Andy Hunt made just two changes to the team that won at Daventry, both forced, with George Short replacing the suspended Steve Brown in midfield and Adam Cornell starting up front ahead of Jack Mazzone with Graeme Purdy unavailable. Darren Wheeler was named on the bench having missed the last two months with injury.
The visitors had failed to win any of their last four away games but had notched up three straight victories prior to their trip to Wey Court and they had the first opportunity of the game in the 6th minute. After Chris Musgrove fouled Alex Condon on the edge of the box Ben Sawyer curled the free kick just over Richard Ossai’s crossbar.
Will Hutton had the Gs first shot of the game in the 14th minute when his right-footed effort from distance curled narrowly over the angle of the bar and post. However, just five minutes later the visitors took the lead. Connor Vincent outmuscled Musgrove and slipped a fine pass through to Hoenes who took one touch before slotting the ball past Ossai, and despite vociferous protests for offside from the Godalming bench the goal stood.
Hutton sent another long-range effort over the bar as Godalming tried to rustle up a response but they nearly went two down after a swift break from Barton saw Hoenes send Anderson through, and the youngster tried to round Ossai but was denied by a smart block from the Gs stopper.
In the 32nd minute Ossai made another save as he leapt to his right to turn away Shai Dhillon’s free kick. Shortly after Cornell came inches away from connecting with Liam Roberts cross but Godalming had failed to create any clear openings and they went in at half time a goal behind.
The hosts were evidently improved after the break and their best chance of the match came and went in the 50th minute. Cornell played in Roberts who was in on goal but the midfielder skewed his shot wide of the target and, 6 minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead.
Vincent was again the provider as he played in Anderson who produced an exquisite chipped finish, leaving Ossai with no chance, for his 5th goal in his last 4 matches. Andy Hunt responded by making three changes in the space of 5 minutes and Cornell’s well-taken volley flew narrowly wide as Godalming looked for an unlikely way back.
However the hosts simply couldn’t create any meaningful spells of pressure, let alone any chances, and the lively and forceful Barton frontline nearly scored a third goal as Vincent and Anderson combined for a shot which the latter fired into the side netting.
The scrappy game, punctuated frequently by free kicks and halts in play, saw few opportunities before the final whistle. In the 83rd minute substitute Mazzone sent a dangerous cross into the 6-yard box and Cornell slid but couldn’t quite connect with the ball but Barton saw out the remaining minutes with little difficulty, and took an important three points back to Bedfordshire.
Godalming host struggling Bedford Town on Tuesday night with the Gs keen to end a four game run without a victory at Wey Court. Andy Hunt’s men then travel to 4th-placed Hanwell Town on Saturday December 20th.
Scorers: Hoenes 19’, Anderson 56’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; Wales, Hutchings, Musgrove, Willment; Simeone, Short (Frith 62’); Hutton; Micaletto (Mazzone 57’); Cornell, Roberts (Wheeler 57’).
Substitutes not used: Oldland, Lloyd.