Godalming Town made it four games unbeaten as they ran out comfortable winners against a poor Leighton Town team, with a 4-0 victory the biggest win for the Gs under Andy Hunt’s reign.
With Darren Wheeler ruled out before the game with an injury Graeme Purdy started in attack. Marco Micaletto, training again after the injury picked up at Beaconsfield SYCOB last month, was named on the bench alongside George Frith and Pietro Palladino. Long-term absentee Gavin Miller was present in the stands.
The hosts, who had already shocked league leaders Kettering this campaign, had the first opportunity 6 minutes in as Godalming failed to properly clear Ashley Farmer’s ball into the box and Michael Lyon shot just over the bar.
The Gs first shot on target came from top-scorer Jack Mazzone in the 14th minute with the striker collecting a Liam Roberts throw in before firing at Dan Green from distance.
Green, one of no less than ten players in the Leighton starting eleven who followed manager Craig Bicknell from Spartan South Midlands League Ampthill Town in the summer, made another save from Mazzone in the 20th minute though the forward was flagged for offside.
A moment of controversy soon followed as Christian Lester bizarrely kicked out at Chris Musgrove off the ball but referee Mike Wardell failed to spot the incident. Leighton had offered a physical approach from the off, a style that has disrupted Godalming already this season, but the Gs soon took the lead with a wonderfully worked goal.
After Will Hutton misplaced a pass Steve Brown did terrifically to win the loose ball and find Purdy. The big striker then released Roberts on the left who delivered a perfectly-weighted, low cross into the box. Brown hadn’t stopped his run since making the challenge and was on hand to beat Robbie Goodman to the ball, sliding home his first Godalming goal.
Long balls looking for the wide men and striker Danny Watson, scorer of 6 goals this season after a staggering 52 for Ampthill last term, were Leighton’s main attacking approach and in the 34th minute a Mark Bunker cross from the right looking for the forward was superbly cleared by Ashley Lloyd in the nick of time.
Two minutes later Purdy slipped in Mazzone and from a tight angle he forced Green into another save before the hosts captain Goodman headed a long ball over the bar in the 38th minute.
Godalming were beginning to get their passing game together and another smart move nearly lead to a second goal. Purdy flicked the ball on to Mazzone who picked out Roberts with a fine pass. With Tyrone Taylor closing him down the midfielder beat Green with his shot but not the far post, and the ball bounced clear.
The Gs would make it two before the interval however as Brown found Roberts out wide and another good cross was forced into his own net by Daniel Hart before the pressurising Purdy could convert.
Two minutes after the break Watson lifted an effort wide as Leighton showed no signs of letting their physicality slip. Both Lyon and Farmer flew into challenges and the latter was booked for an elbow on Nick Hutchings.
The hosts had a spell of pressure from the 57th minute as they won a series of corners. Richard Ossai made his first save of the day from a 25-yard Farmer effort before Musgrove nearly diverted a fine cross from the same player into his own net. From the resulting corner Watson headed wide.
In the 62nd minute, after Antonio Simeone’s pass was deflected, Mazzone collected the ball in the box but was again denied by Green. Leighton then wasted their best chance of the match as Lester’s woeful shot flew over the bar following good work from Watson.
The Gs got a third goal in the 68th minute with Mazzone showing great feet and then picking out Roberts on the left. His third assist of the match took a slight deflection, elevating the ball slightly more, with Purdy bringing the it down before shrugging off the two defenders around him, turning and firing a powerful shot in off the crossbar.
Having been denied by Green on a number of occasions Mazzone eventually got on the scoresheet in some style in the 73rd minute, with his 11th goal of the season. The former Woking man came deep to collect a ball from Ossai and proceeded to skip past Bunker and Goodman with ease before nonchalantly lifting a sensational finish into the top-right corner.
Godalming were looking impressive, albeit against limited opposition, though Watson’s acrobatic volley flew only a few inches over with 7 minutes remaining.
Moments later tempers boiled over, as it had been threatening to do all afternoon, as substitute Kyle Durcan flew into a late, poor challenge on Simeone. The Gs skipper reacted and both players were booked following heated exchanges between the two sets of players.
In a closer fought game more flash points could easily have occurred though Simeone almost had the final say as he danced past three Leighton players before Green denied him what would have been a remarkable fifth goal.
Ultimately it was a three important points for the Gs, as well as a boost to the goal difference, as they moved up to 6th in the league.
Northwood are the visitors in the Southern League Red Insure Cup first round on Tuesday night before Andy Hunt’s men travel to Southern League South & West side Wimborne Town next Saturday in the preliminary round of the FA Trophy.
Scorers: Brown 29’, Hart 45’ (og), Purdy 68’, Mazzone 75’
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Hutchings, Musgrove, Lloyd; Brown, Simeone; W. Hutton (Frith 63’); Roberts, Purdy (Palladino 74′), Mazzone.
Subs not used: Micaletto.
Attendance: 95 (29 away).