Spectacular strikes helped Godalming Town ensure an easy progress to the second round of the Southern League Red Insure Cup as a 5-1 win over Northwood extended the Gs unbeaten run to 5 matches.
A much-changed line up saw Liam Roberts revert to left-back with Chris Wales joining Antonio Simeone in defence. George Frith made his first start in midfield along with James Ryan and Andy Crossley, on his return from injury, was named in attack with Jack Mazzone and Pietro Palladino.
Mazzone and Frith demonstrated some nice link up play in the opening stages before Northwood were forced into an early change after Kamal McEwan picked up a shoulder injury and was replaced by Mason Yorke.
The Gs had made the better start and took the lead in the 16th minute after a perfectly executed free kick from the returning Crossley. Having been fouled near the left-hand edge of the box the attacker brushed himself down before floating a wonderful right-footed strike in to the top corner, leaving Berkley Laurencin with no chance, for his first Godalming goal.
Neither team was going full throttle on a slippery pitch though Ryan forced Laurencin into a simple save in the 26th minute before the former Hendon stopper plucked a dangerous Crossley cross out of the air.
The visitors were presented with a great chance to level in the 31st minute. Richard Ossai slipped on the wet surface just as he was kicking and the ball fell to Ishmael Ehui. The striker’s touch was poor, however, and the ball rolled straight back to the Godalming goalkeeper.
Northwood did find a way through shortly after though. Alex Nolan’s free kick was held up by Nick Turner who rolled the ball towards the back post. Ehui was there to make up for his earlier wasted opportunity and tuck the ball inside Ossai’s near post.
In the 37th minute following great hold up play from Mazzone Frith fired into the side netting with Laurencin getting the slightest of touches. From the corner Godalming re-took the lead as as Crossley picked out Mazzone and Andy Lomas tried to clear, only forcing the ball towards goal where Palladino was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.
Nana Asamoah, scorer when the two sides met in the league last week, fired a free kick over in the 42nd minute but Godalming went in at half time 2-1 ahead.
The Gs had Ossai to thank for keeping them in the lead as he pulled of remarkable save in the 50th minute. Asamoah’s corner looked to be heading in via Roberts but the goalkeeper leapt to claw away the ball.
Substitute Michael Murray dragged an effort wide before Asamoah did the same, and at the other end the recently introduced Darren Wheeler combined with Roberts before the latter fired just off target.
Ossai made another good save, this time from Rob Hastings, before Godalming extended their lead with 12 minutes to play. Wheeler broke down the left and picked out Mazzone who passed the ball on to Marco Micaletto, who was playing his first minutes since a nasty injury last month. The youngster took a touch before smashing the ball home and put the tie beyond Northwood.
Northwood were deflated and four minutes later it was four as Wheeler scored a truly sumptuous goal. The winger collected the ball and ran at the Northwood defence, leaving Nolan and Turner for dead before making space for a shot. He could have simply rolled the ball beyond Laurencin but instead chose to chip, audaciously, his effort into the top corner.
The goal was hos 5th of the season and Godalming were running riot. Moments after the fourth goal a penalty was awarded after Yorke bundled over Micaletto. Mazzone, after his 12th goal of the season, stepped up but a weak effort was saved by Laurencin.
Wheeler had a great chance to score a second goal after a mistake by Turner but the fifth goal came in stoppage time, and it was a finish to challenge Wheeler’s for class. Having received the ball in the corner Micaletto wriggled his was past Nolan before weaving through Perry Dicker and Turner. Having somehow carved out an opening with this mazy run the teenager fired a powerful finish into the far corner notching up his 2nd of the game and 5th of the season in some style.
The performance confirmed the strength of the Gs going forward and also showed that Andy Hunt’s men can adapt their style even with a big change of personnel.
Godalming travel travel to Southern League South & West side Wimborne Town on Saturday in the preliminary round of the FA Trophy before they meet Bedworth United for the first time on October 25th when the Greenbacks visit Wey Court.
Scorers: Crossley 17’, Palladino 38’, Micaletto 78’, 90’, Wheeler 82’; I. Ehui 36’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Roberts, Wales, Simeone; Brown, Frith; Ryan; Crossley (Wheeler 62’), Mazzone, Palladino (Micaletto 62’).
Subs not used: Pearson, Purdy.