Despite falling 2 goals behind inside 10 minutes Godalming Town will feel frustrated at not coming away with all 3 points in the first game at Wey Court this season, a thoroughly entertaining game one that the Gs should have won but could also have lost in the second half.
A slack start at the back allowed Uxbridge, a bogey side for Godalming in recent times, to race into a 2 goal lead thanks to Mark Dennison and Matt Woods. A Kevin Ayodele own-goal got the Gs back into the game before the break and Adam Cornell levelled shortly after the interval, before a host of missed chances and tight decisions contrived to keep the game all square.
Andy Hunt made 2 changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Leighton on the opening day with Chris Musgrove starting in defence in Lee Rushe’s absence, and Cornell replacing Graeme Purdy in attack, the striker dragging an effort wide with just a minute on the clock.
However the visitors soon took the lead as a deep cross into the box wasn’t dealt with and Dennison headed towards goal, the ball taking a touch of Musgrove before flying beyond Richard Ossai and into the net.
The Gs defence was seemingly still in a state of shock as Uxbridge astonished the Wey Court crowd, doubling their lead just four minutes later. Neil Scott pumped another long ball forward and a mistake in the full-back position afforded Woods the time and space to curl a fine finish high into the corner, akin to his New Year’s Day strike against Godalming last season.
To the hosts credit they seized the initiative soon after conceding a second and proceeded to attack. With the game played beneath a striking salmon-pink sky Cornell leapt to nod a Darren Wheeler cross into Paul McCarthy’s hands before Will Hutton’s low drive from distance skidded wide.
They were soon rewarded, the route back into the game coming from a pinpoint cross from the right foot of Wheeler after he was released via a fine Louis Hutton pass, with Ayodele making a hash of a fairly routine clearance as the ball skewed beyond the helpless McCarthy.
The Gs dominance continued after the break and it took just 3 minutes for the equaliser to come – some neat passing culminating in George Frith releasing Cornell, who was played onside by Dennison, and he coolly slotted into the corner.
Chances would continue to flow for both teams though the hosts were the superior team, producing some impressive football as they sought a goal that would give them the lead. 5 minutes after the leveller Scott miskicked the ball allowing Louis Hutton in, and he should have done better than shooting wide when 1 on 1 with McCarthy.
Protests for a penalty soon followed as Cornell was bundled over by a combination of 2 Uxbridge defenders following a free kick, but luck then favoured the hosts as the Reds went close to retaking the lead. A slip by Musgrove following a wayward Steve Laidler pass allowed Zac Joseph to race through on, then around, Ossai before shooting from a tight angle, but Tom Willment produced a superb sliding block to deny him.
In the 69th minute the Gs best chance came and went following a sumptuous passing move. Nick Hutchings got forward and passed to Will Hutton, who provided a deft flick to release Cornell down the left channel. He cut the ball back to Louis Hutton who was just inside the box and after taking a touch he shot narrowly wide, denying an early contender for goal of the season.
Andy Hunt made a double change with Purdy and Jack Mazzone entering the fray and the pair took just 3 minutes to combine, the persistent Mazzone harrying Scott until he won the ball, sliding it to his fellow substitute who forced a fine save from McCarthy from point-blank range.
From the resulting corner Mazzone headed wide at the near post before Louis Hutton fizzed an effort just past the post from long range. Despite the glut of chances for the hosts Uxbridge were very much still in the contest and any touch on a Dave Thomas cross by Kevin Warner would probably have resulted in a goal.
As the clock ticked down there were further appeals for a Godalming penalty as Purdy ended up on the floor inside the box but it was the visitors who had the final chance of the game, substitute Sekani McCalmen slipping down the left before seeing his shot bounce off the post via the right glove of Ossai.
The Gs played more than their part in an enjoyable encounter, with the second half performance particularly impressive. They host Bedford Town on Saturday before a trip to another bogey side from last season, Hanwell Town, on Tuesday 18th.
Scorers: Ayodele o.g 23’, Cornell 48’; Dennison 5’, Woods 9’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Hutchings, Willment, Musgrove; Laidler, L. Hutton, W. Hutton; Frith (Mazzone 71’), Cornell (Purdy 71’), Wheeler.
Subs not used: Roberts, Wales, Lunn.