Godalming Town produced a fine defensive performance as they held on to beat Bedworth United at Wey Court, climbing above the visitors to fourth place and extending their unbeaten league run to five matches.
Following the FA Trophy loss at Wimborne last weekend Andy Hunt made a number of changes. With Charlie Hutton carrying a knock Steve Brown filled in at right-back and George Frith started in midfield. Chris Musgrove replaced Chris Wales at centre-back and Will Hutton and Marco Micaletto returned to the starting eleven.
The visitors, who were relegated from the Northern Premier League last season, lost their third consecutive game on Tuesday night in a 3-1 reverse at Marlow. Indeed it was the Gs who made the early pressing and after Kyle Cartwright was forced to divert a dangerous Darren Wheeler free kick narrowly over his own bar the resulting corner just evaded Chris Musgrove at the far post.
Godalming were producing some neat football in the final third and in the 11th minute an excellent pass from Jack Mazzone released George Frith, whose delicate touch allowed him to round goalkeeper Denham Hinds. However, his ball across the box was too far behind Marco Micaletto.
Wheeler then tried an audacious effort from 40-yards before the Greenbacks had a great chance to take the lead but Alex Naughton, with only Richard Ossai to beat, pulled his effort wide of the far post.
Cartwright headed a Luke Rowe free kick wide before the Gs got the opening goal after 21 minutes. The visitors had already given away a number of free kicks for poor challenges and they were made to pay after a set-piece in perfect Wheeler territory was lifted beautifully into the top corner by the wingers left foot, leaving Hinds with no chance.
Bedworth responded well to going a goal behind and Ossai made a good save from a Daniel Dubidat free kick in the 27th minute, diving to his right to turn the ball behind. However from the corner that followed the visitors levelled.
Rowe’s delivery fell to Daniel Creaney at the back post and his effort forced Ossai into another smart stop but he could do nothing about the rebound which Cartwright smashed home from 10 yards for the defenders first goal of the season.
Despite the equaliser Godalming continued to look good going forward, Wheeler in particular giving Aiden Kirby a torrid afternoon. Having left the former Stotfold defender for dead his excellent, low delivery couldn’t quite be met by Mazzone and in the final action before the break an almost repeat raid down the left resulted in Micaletto volleying over.
Mazzone fired straight at Hinds early in the second half before a deep cross from Chad Degville-Cross essentially hit Creaney and ended up safely in Ossai’s hands.
In the 52nd minute the Gs felt they should have had a penalty after Ashley Lloyd was bundled over inside the box but Michael Taylor waved away the appeals, indeed awarded the visitors a free kick, and they went close 5 minutes later as Degville-Cross fizzed an effort over the bar.
Referee Taylor was pointing the spot shortly after however as Mazzone got on the end of a long ball from Nick Hutchings and rounded Hinds, only to be upended by the former Kettering Town ‘keeper. The penalty kick, Godalming’s 5th of the season, was confidently smashed into the top corner by Mazzone who celebrated a remarkable 14th goal of the campaign, a tally even more impressive given it’s only October.
After going behind for a second time Bedworth began to press and moments after the goal Ossai made another decent save, this time turning Naughton’s free kick over the bar before Degville-Cross shot wide from distance.
Andy Hunt responded to the increased pressure by bringing on the more defensive Wales for Hutton in the middle, with Purdy coming on for Micaletto shortly after. Wales almost diverted a Rowe cross into his own net in the 74th minute but made some crucial, flying blocks to deny the visitors as the game entered its latter stages.
With seven minutes to go substitute Keenan Meakin-Richards shot from distance was deflected just wide and from the subsequent corner Ossai produced a truly sensational save to keep his side ahead.
Rowe’s set-piece wasn’t cleared and the ball eventually fell to Meakin-Richards who let fly with a rocket from just inside the box. The effort seemed destined for the far corner but Ossai leapt at full-stretch to tip the ball away, a heroic save fit to win any game.
The nerves could be felt around Wey Court as Bedworth continued to hunt for an equaliser and Naughton almost found one in 90th minute but his free kick dipped just over the crossbar. In stoppage time the former Coventry City youngster shot wide but moments later the final whistle as blown with a huge three points secured for the Gs.
A positive start to the campaign has seemingly turned into a genuine push for promotion and given the struggles of last season much credit must go to Andy Hunt and his coaching team.
A win on Monday night at bottom side Beaconsfield SYCOB will see Godalming climb up to second place, as well going some way to erasing memories of the FA Cup exit there earlier this season. The Gs then have a blank weekend before travelling to Rugby Town on Tuesday November 4th.
Scorers: Wheeler 21’, Mazzone 61’ (p); Cartwright 28’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; Brown, Hutchings, Musgrove, Lloyd; Simeone, Frith; Hutton (Wales 65’); Micaletto (Purdy 67’), Mazzone, Wheeler (Crossley 73’)
Sub not used: Pearson, Roberts