After striking the woodwork twice in stoppage time Godalming Town were left to content themselves with a point against Beaconsfield SYCOB as the wait for a win at Wey Court continued.
Following a dull first half the hosts made a positive start to the second period and took the lead in the 63rd minute courtesy of Darren Wheeler. The joy, however, was short-lived as Elliot Carey levelled just 2 minutes later. The game eventually developed into a dramatic crescendo as both sides created golden chances to secure the points, with Godalming now doubt satisfied at going 2 games unbeaten for the first time since November.
Andy Hunt named an unchanged side with Chris Wales returning to the bench. The visitors had the re-appointed Gary Meakin in the dugout as well as a number of new faces in the starting XI as they looked to deny the Gs victory for the 4th time this season.
They also enjoyed the better of the opening 45 and Kurtney Brooks curled a shot over from the edge of the box after 12 minutes. Chances were few and far between but after Tom Willment slipped and Lee Togwell took advantage Aaron Berry crossed for Romaine Walker but Richard Ossai did well to deny the winger, a recent signing from Burnham.
Godalming’s best chance of the half came in the 39th minute when Wheeler’s deep cross found Liam Roberts at the far post but the midfielders volley comfortably cleared the crossbar. Berry then went close in first-half stoppage time with the striker, scorer of 10 goals this season, shooting into the side-netting.
The Gs made an energetic start to the second half, earning a corner in the 46th minute, and Willment was inches away from heading in the opener against his former club. At the other end Ossai did well to smother a Kofi Lockhart-Adams attempt before, in the 55th minute, he produced a great save from the same player.
Jordan Ajanlekoko sent a header onto the roof of the net and then, on the hour mark, the same player’s miskick presented Roberts with a chance but his powerful effort flew inches over the bar. The game had picked up speed and with chances beginning to open up it was no surprise when Godalming took the lead in the 63rd minute.
Charlie Hutton, who had a good game at right-back, advanced with the ball and after beating 2 Beaconsfield players he exchanged a 1-2 with Roberts before sending a low cross towards the far post. Wheeler was on hand to smash a first-time effort in off Brendan Hazlett for his 10th goal of the season, and give the hosts a lead their second-half attacking intent merited.
Moments after the goal the Gs had a great chance to double their lead as Antonio Simeone’s neat lobbed pass found Cornell in on goal. The substitute rounded Hazlett but fired wide, and the visitors took only 2 minutes after that to reaffirm their bogey team status to Godalming.
Zac Martin was harried down the left wing by George Frith but still managed to get a decent cross in which, after Lockhart-Adams ushered him, was connected with powerfully by Carey whose shot flew in off Ossai’s right-hand post.
From there both sides went for the win and in the 76th minute an excellent Steve Brown cross almost created another goal but Cornell, stretching, turned his effort over the bar. Lockhart-Adams just needed to connect with substitute Ashley Kelynack’s cross 4 minutes later but, 6 yards out, he failed to and the chance was gone.
With less than 10 minutes to go Ossai produced 2 outstanding saves in the space of a minute to keep his side level. Having parried Walker’s angled drive Lockhart-Adams pounced on the rebound but the Gs stopper made a flying save to his left to turn the ball behind. The resulting short corner was met by the head of Alex Murray only for Ossai to outdo himself, reacting fantastically to make another stop.
The game was wide open by this point and shortly after Willment headed a Wheeler cross narrowly wide before Godalming somehow failed to snatch a winning goal after a number of glorious chances in stoppage time. The first opportunity saw a Frith cross deflected onto his own crossbar by Murray, before Wheeler sent the rebounding ball back in and Cornell headed wide from a matter of yards out.
The hosts couldn’t have thought they’d get another chance as good as that but remarkably they did. In the 3rd minute of injury time, having left Walker for dead, Wheeler sent in a cross and from the mass of bodies Willment headed against the crossbar. The rebound fell to Cornell who, with only Hazlett to beat from inside the 6-yard box, headed wide of the left post.
The remarkable end to the game somehow failed to produce a 3rd goal and Godalming will take heart from a much improved second half that extends an unbeaten home record to 4 games, as well as lifts them one place to 11th.
Andy Hunt’s men face a tough trip to 2nd place Aylesbury on Saturday before another away-day on the 31st, this time at Marlow.
Scorers: Wheeler 63’; Carey 65’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Hutchings, Willment, Lloyd; Brown, Simeone (Wales 70’); Roberts; Mazzone (Frith 60’), Wheeler, Purdy (Cornell 52’)
Substitutes not used: Lunn, Musgrove