Herne Bay 3 – 2 Godalming Town
After the comprehensive performance against Guernsey we headed off down the M25/ M20 towards the north Kent coast a bright and cheery group of Gs supportershoping that there could be a point on offer. I don’t think anyone could have quite predicted how the game went. That old old football cliché “ It was a game of two halves” was never more true.
Oneal Garnes was in goal. With Callum Eagle still recovering from the injury at Hythe, Joseph Strochetti started at right back, Carl Garstang at left back with Chris Wales and Chris Musgrove the centre backs. Sean Mason, Piers Oldland and Darren Wheeler in the midfield, with William Efambe starting in a more forward role supporting Graeme Purdy and Matt Bunyan.
On the bench were Rory Sellick and Steve Brown. Bobby Dormer still suspended and Nick Sowden unavailable.
At the start of the game there was “a bit of a do” over the colour of the under-shorts on one of the Herne Bay players. The ref ingratiated himself to the home team when he insisted that they were changed and held up play. Clearly there were plenty of other players with the wrong colour under-shorts as well, but that did not seem to matter.
However it seemed that the Gs were not switched on at the start of the game. Fortunately Oneal Garnes was as when from a free kick out on their right the home team almost went ahead in the first few minutes as they produced a firm header that almost crept under the bar. Oneal had it covered and made a really impressive leap to tip it over the bar. That was not enough to shake them into action as they seemed rooted to the spot when the home side scored the opening goal inside the first 6 minutes with a move down their left and a square ball into the area, which was pushed home from close range.
The Gs then went further behind when following a corner where the ball was cleared only to just beyond their area when a fierce shot was unleashed and with the aid of at least one ricochet it found its way into the Gs net. So 28 minutes in 2-0 down.
Only three minutes later from another corner the home side got their third from close range as the Gs defence was too slow to deal with the threat. So at half time 3-0 down and looking pretty below par to be honest. It looked like it would be a long and painful second half.
However if the Gs were poor in the first half, the home side contrived to be just as bad, if not worse, in the second. Whatever Dan and his team said, or did, in the interval – it worked. Like turning a switch. Steve Brown came into the midfield at the start of the second half for Joseph Strochetti and Sean Mason moved to right back
Only 7 minutes into the second half and William Efambe worked his way into the box on the right hand side where he was brought down and the ref blew for a penalty, which captain Darren Wheeler stepped up to despatch. Back to 3 – 1. Could this be a fight back?
Early on in the second half the home side put the ball in the net when they were awarded a free kick on their left, but the scorer was well offside. Other than that there was little for Oneal to be worried about in the second half.
The Gs won a free kick on the right, played across to Darren Wheeler on the left who got forward and found one of his great curling crosses, which the prolific goal scorer Graeme Purdy met, heading the ball down and past the home keeper. Now 3 – 2 and home supporters getting really twitchy about the changes in the way things were going. The travelling supporters were pinching themselves.
The Gs were now dominating play and it was the home team who were hanging on. Purdy and Bunyan were chasing down the opposition and forcing them into mistakes.
After some good build up work by the Gs Matt Bunyan made a great back heal to set up William Efambe to advance on goal in the area, but he seemed to stumble before getting his shot away.
Then again the ball came in from the left and the impressive Matt Bunyan got on to it, but could not get his shot on target as he tumbled in the attempt.
Twenty minutes before the end Chris Musgrove was in a race with a Herne Bay forward latching on to a through ball played in behind the Gs defence. The home forward went to ground and the referee must have felt he was the last man, as Chris received a straight red card. So now down to ten men. But it made little difference as the Gs continued to press.
Towards the end the impressive young Rory Sellick came on for a very tired William Efambe, but the Gs could not find the final touch despite dominating possession.
So, in the end the home side clung on without mustering a shot on goal or winning a corner in the second half. In complete contrast to their domination in the first half.
It was such a strange game.
Herne Bay Gees
attempts 10 7
on target 7 4
corners 8 1
fouls 19 11
yellows – 3
reds – 1
poss 1 59 41
poss 2 39 61