Godalming Town surrendered a 3-0 lead against struggling Bedford Town as the Gs failed to capitalise on one of their games in hand, extending their winless run at Wey Court to 5 matches.
After a dominant start to the match the hosts found themselves 3 up thanks to well worked goals from Jack Mazzone, Darren Wheeler and Adam Cornell. However Bedford top-scorer Tom Liversedge pulled one back before half time and as soon as the same player converted a penalty in the 52nd minute an equaliser looked likely, and Liversedge completed his hat-trick shortly after to secure an astonishing point for the visitors.
Andy Hunt made three changes after the loss to Barton Rovers with George Frith replacing the unavailable George Short in midfield. Elsewhere Darren Wheeler started for the first time since October, ahead of Liam Roberts, and Jack Mazzone came back into the starting XI.
The visitors almost took a very early lead when, after 40 seconds, Ross Oulton’s cross nearly caught out Richard Ossai. However Godalming soon began to dominate and Will Hutton produced a mazy run inside the box which resulted in Mazzone having a shot blocked after 5 minutes.
The Gs were passing the ball around neatly with Hutton looking particularly fluent in midfield. In the 17th minute he played a big role in the creation of Godalming’s first goal, nutmegging Josh Winters before picking out Cornell with an excellent pass. The striker held the ball up before laying it on to Mazzone and the Godalming top-scorer hit an excellent, first-time shot with the outside of his right-foot which flew past Gary Malone for his 15th goal of the season.
Hutton shot narrowly wide from distance in the 23rd minute as Godalming continued to be on top, and just two minutes later their lead was doubled. Hutton sprayed the ball out to Wheeler on the right and, despite a hint of offside, the winger left Joe Hopewell for dead before firing a low shot towards the near post. Malone should have stopped the shot, and he got his body behind it, but it squirmed beyond him and into the net.
By this point Andy Hunt’s men were in full charge of the contest and Antonio Simeone shot over before, in the 37th minute, Godalming made it 3-0. Hutton produced another fine ball out to Frith on the left and the midfielders cross was caught by Malone just before Cornell could connect. However, the goalkeeper then spilt the ball under no pressure and the former Slough Town striker was left with the simple task of firing home from 6 yards.
At this stage the Gs were rampant and it looked like more goals were on the cards. However, less than 2 minutes after going 3 down the Eagles pulled a goal out of nowhere as Liversedge got behind the Godalming defence to head home a Hopewell cross at the back post.
The goal gave Bedford a flicker of hope and after they survived a scare when Hutton fired narrowly wide after the break they began to exert their own pressure, and in the 52nd minute Chris Musgrove handled inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Ossai got his hands to the Liversedge’s kick but it was too powerful for the Gs stopper and the visitors now had real hope of a shock turnaround.
The confidence was sapped from Godalming and they began to panic, and there was an air of inevitability when, just 3 minutes after making it 3-2, Liversedge collected Hopewell’s pass and fired in his 10th goal of the season at the near post, completing a 16-minute hat-trick.
Bedford were now on top as they looked to capitalise on their momentum and shell-shock the hosts further with another goal. However Godalming stood firm during the nervy few minutes that followed the equaliser and eventually took control again. In the 69th minute they were desperately unlucky not to go back in front when, after good build up play, Simeone’s thunderous side-footed volley from a Chris Wales cross crashed back off the underside of the crossbar before being pawed away by Malone.
Minutes later Cornell turned and saw his shot deflect wide before, at the other end, a swift counter attack saw Winters play in Paul Cooper but the right-back’s shot fizzed across the face of goal and wide. The Gs were back on top though and forcing the initiative as they looked to find a winning goal. In the 82nd minute Mazzone was fouled off the ball just outside the box and Wheeler stepped up, but his free kick dipped inches wide of the post.
Godalming had another chance to win it with 5 minutes to play as again a Wheeler set-piece caused problems, this time Tom Willment nodding his corner narrowly the wrong side of Malone’s left post. However despite the late chances the Gs couldn’t find a winner and they were left to rue a golden opportunity to make ground on the playoff places, a chance that was blown away by a crazy spell either side of half-time.
Having moved up one place to 9th Andy Hunt’s men make the trip to Hanwell Town for the first time on Saturday, with the Geordies sitting 8 points ahead of Godalming in 4th place. The next game at Wey Court is the Boxing Day clash with Egham.
Scorers: Mazzone 17’ Wheeler 25’ Cornell 37’; Liversedge 39’, 52’ (p), 55’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; Wales, Hutchings, Musgrove, Willment; Simeone, Frith; Hutton; Mazzone, Cornell (Purdy 86’), Wheeler.
Substitutes not used: Brown, Roberts, Oldland, Lloyd.