Godalming 0 – 1 Merstham
This Surrey Senior cup fixture brought together last year’s finalists. On that occasion Merstham dominated the G from the outset and scored quite freely early on with Piers Oldland getting the Gs solitary consolation goal with a good strike just moments before the end in a 4-1 defeat for the Gs.
This time, having shipped plenty of goals in recent games, the Gs set out to defend in numbers and try to get something on the break. In goal was Oneal Garnes, with Chris Musgrove, Matt Males, Graeme Purdy (C) and Sean Mason at the back, Steve Brown in front of the back four alongside Ryan Zidyane, and Jack Battie, with Darren Wheeler, and Hitcham Abdellah the wide players with Jack Mazzone up front. Named on the bench were Cameron Karembo, Chris Manangu and Chris Atkins.
This was a stoic performance by the lads when most observers would have thought they would be expecting a trouncing at the hands of Merstham from a League above and with memories of the previous encounter fresh in the mind.
Again the squad was significantly changed from the side that appeared on Sunday only 48 hours before. Ryan Zidyana proved his worth, defending, as if his life depended upon it, alongside Steve Brown coming in to the central defence to add a bit of bite. The tactics worked. It wasn’t pretty at times and the Gs had more possession in the first half than the second. But to see the Gs manage to maintain a clean sheet for the first 45 minutes for the first time for a long while. The whole squad was employed in defence and they battled as they had to and as they will need to if they are to stay in this league.
The only goal came at almost 70 minutes in and I am sure that the somewhat speculative shot from 30 yards or so took a deflection that evaded Oneal who had had a great game.
Captain Purdy was tremendous at the back not only in defence, but also in his distribution and inspiring the team. Oneal had a great game, commanding the 6 yard box. Hitchem was also noticeable in his contribution to the defence as well as going forward and we must not forget how hard Jack Mazzone worked upfront on his own for much of the game and also back defending when required.
At the end in the bar the visitors Assistant Manager acknowledged that we would feel this was a moral victory and could not understand how we are at the foot of the table when we could defend like that. Hope the lads take some inspiration from this performance.
If we can blend some of the defensive heart shown in this game and introduce some support up front going forward from the likes of Jack Warburton and Louis Hutton then who knows what will happen. Points ????