Godalming’s indifferent pre-season form continued as reigning FA Vase and Wessex League champions Sholing produced an efficient performance to secure a 2-0 win at Wey Court.
The refurbished ground was resplendent in the late-July sunshine and the opposition, one of the favourites to win the Southern League South and West, threatened early on as Alex Baldacchino headed into the arms of Richard Ossai. A slow start gradually escalated after the quarter-hour mark with Will Hutton curling over for the G’s moments before Steve Brown picked out Pietro Palladino, who showed great control to bring the ball down, but the forward shot straight at Rory Anderson. In the 26th minute the visitors took the lead with the simplest of goals, Lewis Fennemole rising highest to guide Danny Cox’s corner across the helpless Ossai and into the far corner.
Only a splendid block from Brown prevented Cox from adding a second before Godalming’s best spell of the game in a 10 minute flurry before half-time. Mark Watkins did well to pick out Andy Crossley inside the box but the striker took too long to release a shot and was denied by Anderson at the second attempt. From the resulting corner Anderson again had to be alert to claw away a Hutton header but he could do nothing about the rebound, which Chris Musgrove should have scored from close range. In the 42nd minute Hutton’s intelligent build-up found Crossley, who again wasted a good opportunity as he scooped his effort over with only Anderson to beat.
Moments later Charlie Hutton’s dangerous ball was cleared by Jude Nwachuwku but before Godalming could even wonder how they didn’t level before the interval they found themselves 2 goals down. Another set piece, this time a Cox free-kick from wide right, was met by the head of a Sholing player as captain Dan Mason nodded home to but the Boatmen on course for victory deep into first-half injury time.
The visitors came closest after the break with Byron Mason shooting just over but as the game wore on, and with the Sholing defence looking assured and organised, the game struggled to flow as Godalming eventually ran out of ideas. In the 70th minute Ashley Lloyd whipped in dangerous, deep cross which TJ Cuthbertson nearly sliced into his own net. The corner that followed eventually fell to Musgrove who fired wide. Substitute Kane Crisp was denied a third Sholing goal as Ossai made a fantastic close-range save. The Boatmen, who’ve already claimed the notable scalps of Guernsey and Gosport Borough this pre-season, saw out the rest of the game comfortably.
The impressive, new-look Wey Court will play host to an Aldershot Town XI on Monday night before Ryman South side Horsham visit next Saturday with the league campaign commencing in just a fortnight.
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; Hutton (Hardy 71′), Hutchings, Simeone, Lloyd; Musgrove, Bown; Hutton, Watkins, Palladino (Purdy 46′); Crossley (Binns 62′).
Report by Ed Stubbs.