Godalming Town swept aside Aylesbury United as they recorded their 3rd win in a row, moving themselves up to 9th place in the process. The victory was the biggest in the league at Wey Court since September 2013 and extends a 5 game unbeaten streak, easily the best run the Gs have experienced under Andy Hunt.
After the in-form Darren Wheeler converted a 23rd minute penalty a fantastic, flowing move culminated in Liam Roberts doubling the lead minutes later. The league’s top scorer Lewis Putman halved the deficit on the stroke of half time but further goals from Adam Cornell, and another for Wheeler, rounded off an impressive victory.
Charlie Hutton replaced Chris Wales at right back and with George Frith unavailable Will Hutton started in midfield. Lee Wigley, who played for Godalming several times last season, was named on the bench as Tom Willment served the final game of his suspension.
The Gs first chance of the game came from the recently prolific Wheeler, his 4th minute free kick not getting a touch and needing to be superbly tipped round the post by Bermuda international Tahj Bell though the flag was raised for offside.
Despite the emphatic scoreline the Ducks should have taken the lead on 8 minutes. Stacey Field provided an excellent cross from the right and Jason Blackett, well placed just yards from goal, headed wide when he should have scored.
Will Hutton’s deflected effort dropped into the hands of Bell before Putman shot wide from inside the box. In the 19th minute Wheeler came close as he placed an effort inches wide but he made amends minutes later when he opened the scoring.
After a swift break Wheeler beat Jake Bewley in the box before being upended by him, and the hosts were awarded their 6th penalty of the season. Wheeler sent Bell the wrong way and it would only be 3 minutes until the Gs were celebrating again.
Will Hutton passed to Cornell who took the ball superbly and beat Bewley before spreading play wide to Wheeler. With one touch the winger found Liam Roberts on the edge of the box and he cut in before finding the far corner, finishing off a fantastic, passing move for his first Godalming goal.
It was an excellent move and the hosts deserved their lead although the Ducks did press after falling 2 down, and captain Jack Wood headed over a corner before Blackett hit the side netting in the 34th minute.
In the 43rd minute the visitors were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal and Putman, who signed from Hanwell Town earlier in the campaign, finished with aplomb to halve the deficit. Putman has been in smoking hot form this season with 19 goals but despite the goal he couldn’t spark enough fire into his side, who fell further behind 8 minutes after the break.
The Gs have surrendered leads before this season and the Aylesbury goal came at a good time for them, so Cornell’s 6th strike since signing in November greatly eased any nerves. Another smart move saw Roberts find Wheeler out wide and he demonstrated great technique to cut inside the tormented Bewley and cross with the outside of his boot to the far post where Cornell stopped to head home.
In similar fashion to the first-half Godalming scored in quick succession as they made it 4 after 59 minutes. Shaun Owens hurried pass only found Roberts and when he beat Bewley and played in Simeone Bell made a smart block, but the rebound flew across the box where Wheeler was on hand to take a touch before smashing in his second of the afternoon.
The visitors were stunned and despite Field shooting over the Gs came close to a 5th in the 67th minute, only the crossbar denying Chris Musgrove from a corner and preventing the Ducks from getting on the receiving end of a Valentine’s Day massacre. Bell then made another save as the goalkeeper, who played in 2014 World Cup qualification, blocked a Wheeler effort.
A moment of controversy then followed as the hosts were reduced to 10 men after Graeme Purdy was harshly sent off. Booked 5 minutes after coming on the striker will feel aggrieved when, after clearly winning the ball in a challenge on fellow substitute Tinashe Chabatta, the referee produced a second yellow. Chabatta went down as well his namesake does for lunch and Purdy saw the wrong kind of red on Valentine’s Day.
Despite the reduction in men Godalming rarely looked in danger of conceding again although in stoppage time only a superb tackle from Simeone prevented Putman from bagging a second. The hosts looked dangerous in front of goal all game and will look to take their excellent recent form to AFC Hayes on Saturday, another side who’ve picked up recently despite their lowly position.
The Gs then travel to Royston on Tuesday 24th before league leaders Kettering visit Wey Court on Saturday 28th.
Scorers: Wheeler 23 (p)’ 59, Roberts 26’, Cornell 53’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton (Wigley 46’), Hutchings, Musgrove, Lloyd; W. Hutton, Roberts (Howard 72’), Brown, Simeone; Wheeler, Cornell (Purdy 65’).
Substitutes not used: Wales, Lunn.