Godalming Town suffered back to back home defeats as a tidy Hanwell Town side scored three first-half goals and held on to win 3-2 at Wey Court on Tuesday night.
After the weekend loss to Aylesbury Andy Hunt made three changes with the returning George Hardy, Darren Wheeler and Graeme Purdy coming in for Jordan Binns, Piers Oldland and Andy Crossley.
Wheeler made a lively start and a freekick which he won flew into the hands of Alex Marginean in the 3rd minute before Lewis Putman, the Southern League Central joint top scorer, was denied by Richard Ossai at the other end.
Putman’s chance was a sign of things to come but Godalming seemed relaxed and much more dynamic than the Aylesbury game, and in the 10th minute they took the lead.
Wheeler’s corner from the left found Antonio Simeone at the far post and after his towering header was cleared off the line by Antony Rowlands Will Hutton was on hand to smash home the rebound.
Jack Mazzone, one of the other league top scorers, curled a shot over in the 12th minute with the Gs looking like they could overpower Hanwell in a manner similar to the win over AFC Hayes three weeks previous.
However in the 15th minute they were undone by another direct move with Daniel Vincent hitting a fine first time effort in at Ossai’s near post after Bill Healey flicked on a deep free kick.
The visitors should have been ahead 6 minutes later when Healey skewed a great chance over the bar following intricate flank play between Vincent and Tom Inch.
At the other end Mazzone again went close when Marginean raced off his line to clear a long Hardy ball, but his canny effort from the far touchline whistled wide.
Marginean then made an outstanding reflex save to tip away Will Hutton’s close range volley as the Godalming midfielder began to link up dangerously with Wheeler. The resulting corner needed only a touch from Simeone but the ball just evaded the Gs captain.
In the 29th minute Ashley Lloyd executed a fine tackle to stop Putman but a less well-timed challenge from Nick Hutchings 3 minutes later resulted in a penalty kick to the newly-promoted visitors.
After Ossai saved well from Healey, Connor Duffy was bundled over and Matthew Lee pointed to the spot, somewhat controversially. Putman, on dual-registration with Conference South Wealdstone, produced a weak effort which Ossai saved but was on hand to tuck home the rebound for 2-1.
The hosts responded superbly and began to put pressure on the Hanwell defence. In the 38th minute Wheeler crossed for Mazzone who’s shot ricocheted off Kyle Watson and inches wide before, moments later, the former Woking man’s glancing header whizzed narrowly past the far post.
It wasn’t Mazzone’s day, however, and after receiving Liam Roberts’ fine through-ball he curled another effort over Marginean’s bar. Putman forced a save from Ossai shortly after, against the run of play, before Hanwell made it three four minutes before the break.
Inch’s corner was helped on by Vincent and Healey finished at the far post for his fifth goal in as many games. He should have made it 4-1 minutes later but he somehow shot straight at Ossai from close range.
After the break Andy Hunt brought on Oldland and Marco Micaletto and the hosts continued to dominate without testing Marginean. The Hanwell goalkeeper began to drop kick from just outside his box and when linesman Nigel Baker spotted this in the 66th minute Godalming were awarded a free kick.
Wheeler floated in the set peice majestically with Marginean rooted to the spot and it was game on.
Healey and Putman had been more than a handful all evening and the pair, who now have 13 goals between then this season, linked up in the 70th minute but the former headed in to Ossai’s arms.
With less than quarter of an hour to go Godalming came desperately close when Micaletto found Oldland with a fine ball and Purdy narrowly missed getting on the end of the youngster’s right-sided delivery.
Ossai denied Putman after another threatening counter shortly after but Godalming were doing the pressing as they sought a leveller. With 6 minutes to go Ashley Lloyd headed inches over following Will Hutton’s lofted ball in.
It wasn’t to be for the Gs who will feel frustrated at not having got at least a point. Beaconsfield SYCOB visit on Saturday for the FA Cup 1st qualifying round tie before Godalming making a first-ever journey to St Ives Town, who sit one place and two points behind Andy Hunt’s side, on the 20th.
Goals: Hutton 10′, Wheeler 67′; Vincent 15′, Putman 33′, Healey 41′
Godalming XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Hutchings, Hardy (Musgrove 46′), Lloyd; Simeone, W. Hutton, Roberts (Micaletto 53′); Mazzone (Oldland 53′), Purdy, Wheeler.