Sittingbourne 2 – 1 Godalming
It was good of the home supporters to concede that the better team on the day lost, but it does not make it any easier to take for a Godalming side that really dominated the hosts for long periods and had enough chances in the first half alone to put the game to bed by half time.
The Gs were without Chris Musgrove, (suspended) Callum Eagles, Graeme Purdy still recovering from injury and Nick Sowden with a ham string injury. They did have the welcome and unexpected addition of Keith Emmerson for this game only. Those that were at a pre-season friendly at Holyport a few seasons back will recall his influence that night when Hendo, amongst others, were mercilessly bitten to bits by some beasts in the grass. He was influential again controlling and encouraging from the back.
The Gs lined up in a 4 – 4 – 2 formation. Oneal Garnes in goal, Sean Mason, Chris Wales, Keith Emerson and Carl Garstang at the back. Piers Oldland, Steve Brown, Bobby Dormer and Darren Wheeler (c) in the midfield, and Matt Bunyan and William Efambe upfront. On the Bench were Rory Sellick and Joseph Strocchetti.
From the start the visitors were showing more urgency and defending strongly. The Gs were impressing upfront as well. After 20 minutes Matt Bunyan got a flick on which Darren chased down and got a diagonal shot in, which hit the far post only to bounce out again.
Minutes later Matt Bunyan came in at pace from the left only to put his shot over the bar from close range.
Then Bobby Dormer latched on to a clearance and hit a fierce shot that deflected several times at pace and finally to Darren Wheeler a few metres out who could only direct the ball with his head straight to the grateful home keepers chest.
When you see a string of chances go begging you always wonder “will those missed chances be the difference”.
Sure enough, although the home team had created very little to get their supporters excited, on 39 minutes the home number 7 somehow wriggled through the Gs defence, having lost the ball to the defenders who could have cleared it, but did not. Somehow he got the ball back and made it to the goal line and played the ball into the area for a close range tap in against the run of play.
However the Gs got straight back when they attacked again and after a skirmish in the area the ball came to Bobby Dormer who brought the score level just on the stroke of half time.
An impressive first half as good as anything we have seen recently with Piers Oldland putting in the miles and Chris Wales dealing with anything in the way of long high balls into the Gs area. All the guys did a great job.
With memories of a few games lately that featured really contrasting performances in the two halves nothing was certain, but the somewhat depleted travelling G army were feeling very pleased with the performance at half time.
The Gs were just as good in the second half and Matt Bunyan, who had been massive once again both upfront and in defending set pieces, found himself on the end of a through ball leaving him through on the keeper only to see his shot crash against the foot of the upright and bounce out.
Shortly after Piers fed the ball in and it found its way to Darren who somehow put his shot just wide when you would have put your house on him scoring.
The home team’s management team where obviously unhappy about what they were seeing and made all three substitutions early in the second half.
Chris Wales received a very unfortunate yellow card for a tackle where he had clearly won the ball and the opposition player fell over him. As usual he had put his body on the line repeatedly as the home team started to come more into the game towards the end with their three subs on.
Having run their legs off throughout there was always a chance that the Gs would run out of steam at the end, but Dan was still looking for all three points rather than sitting on a single point. So we saw Sean and Piers more forward. He replaced Steve Brown who had picked up a yellow card with Rory Sellick. The Gs came close again when Darren weaved around in the box and fed the ball to Rory, but he could not get his shot on target.
Oneal was called on to dive bravely at the feet of one the home forwards, but they produced mostly poor shots well wide of the target.
Joseph Strocchetti came on for Carl who had also picked up a yellow card.
In the three minutes of extra time being added Sittingbourne attacked on their left and a miss hit shot that was going wide fortunately for them crashed into two of their players and bounced around on the edge of the 6 yard box where they were able to bundle the ball into the net from close range..
We have to be proud of another great performance as far as energy and commitment are concerned and had we taken those missed chances we would have comfortably won. We did not. But the performance of the whole team must be praised. Hard to single anyone out as it was a good team performance all round. But Bobby Dormer looked strong throughout the game and Piers seems to be more comfortable in his midfield role and William showed great skill with the ball at his feet putting his marker on his back on one occasion with some nifty footwork and tackling like someone twice his size.
Well done all of you. Everyone who saw the game knows you deserved the three points.
attempts 12 12
on target 6 3
corners 3 3
fouls 19 12
bookings 2 3
poss 1st Half 47 53
poss 2nd Half 42 58