SSC Cup Final Godalming 1 Merstham 4
The dream of winning the SSC cup ended tonight when the G’s were comprehensively beaten by Merstham from the Ryman Premier League.
On a sunny evening in Woking there was a good turnout of G’s supporters, but they were well outnumbered by Merstham followers who made up the majority of the 560 at the game. This was an indication of the task ahead of the lads.
It was always going to be a tough match against a side from the next level up and things were made worse learning that the G’s would be without both Nick Hutchings and Darren Wheeler through injuries.
The G’s fielded Oneal Garnes, Charlie Hutton, Julian Sills, Chris Musgrove and Liam Roberts, Ashley Lloyd, Will Hutton, Louis Hutton Steve Laidler,Iven Kumanda and Graeme Purdy. On the bench were Rory Sellick, Piers Oldland, Danny Bassett, Chris Wales and Richard Ossai.
The G’s got off to the worst possible start when they shipped 2 goals in the first 12 minutes of the game when Merstham seemed to have time and pace in bags to cut through the G’s defence. They looked like a side a league above.
Somehow the G’s looked to be a bit flat-footed and Penny looked dangerous with his pace upfront for Merstham, as did their No 11 Aaron Hopkinson. Their full backs were also getting forward to pile on the pressure.
It took the G’s 30 minutes or so to get some momentum going and create any pressure at all. Steve Laidler received a yellow card for a foul while tracking back. Will Hutton created a bit of space for himself and got the first shot in for the G’s on around 38 minutes.
However this brought more from Merstham by the way of a third well worked goal from Penny, before half time. Graeme Purdy as always did well in winning long balls from Oneal Garnes, but could not find sufficient support to convert this into pressure. The G’s were limited to a couple of speculative long range efforts from Louis Hutton but neither was on target.
Towards the end of the half Merstham did give the ball away in defence, but the G’s could not capitalise on it. The Merstham defence rather giving away a free kick outside their penalty area, which Louis took and the initial shot rebounded from the wall and his second attempt went wide.
To their credit the G’s came out in the second half with the intention that they would play a bit more football and with a change of personnel in the shape of Rory Sellick. He came on for Iven Kumanda who had only been able to show glimpses of his potential. This seemed to allow the squad to pass the ball more freely from the back through the midfield and the passes started to flow.
A great build up move saw Will Hutton again carve his way through, but he could not get a shot in to match the rest of the move. It did show what the lads can do with the ball on the ground and passing quickly.
However when Merstham were awarded a corner Julian Sills needed to clear the ball near the line from a Merstham header in from the far post.
Then, to put one more nail in the coffin, Merstham broke quickly on the counter, down their right and delivered a low cross across the box for Aaron Hopkinson to finish off and put them 4 up, rather against the run of the play at the time, but well worked and clinical finishing.
Ashley Lloyd came off to be replaced by Piers Oldland to give the G’s more pace up front. The G’s came close with some more good passing moves and Julian Sills headed just over from a Louis Hutton free kick. On 75 minutes Graeme Purdy who had worked really hard upfront was replaced by Danny Bassett.
This was all proving to put more pressure on the Merstham defence and Danny was able to create a couple of shooting opportunities in front of goal.
This was much better than the first half performance and Will Hutton, the G’s most constructive player on the night, again got involved with a great sequence of passes, finishing with a one-two with his brother Louis, but could not quite find the shot to beat the Merstham Keeper as he had done their defenders.
Minutes later Louis also played Danny in during another move but his shot cleared the bar. Rory Sellick was making a great contribution from midfield and joining in with the attacks.
Although the match result was beyond them the G’s kept working at their passing play and finally created another move where Danny Bassett was able to slip the ball across to Piers Oldland who ran on to the ball and fired low past the Merstham keeper to get at least a consolation goal, which was no more than they deserved.
The Merstham squad were clearly delighted to get the result and they showed in the first half their class and finishing, congratulations to them.
Shame that the Surrey County cannot provide a bit more prize money. No criticism of the sponsors but £800 seems pretty poor to me.
Attempts 14 13
On target 6 5
corners 2 4
fouls 15 (2o/s) 19 ( 2o/s)
Poss 1st 18.01 (45%) 22.25 (55%)
Poss 2nd 21.58 (55%) 18.02 (45%)
Bookings 4 1
Of course it was disappointing to loose in that way, but the second half performance did allow the lads to leave with their heads held high. We have had another strange league season with a good start and a good finish but with a pretty poor middle and have not always been able to turn the possession into points. But we have seen some of the best passing football from any G’s side for some years. So thanks to the squad for that.
It was good to see so many G’s supporters present and I know that the club are extremely grateful for the support that they have given during the season. We have often been praised at away games for the number of supporters travelling to away matches. Thanks to you all. See you next season.