Tooting and Mitcham 1 – 0 Godalming
The Gs may have left Imperial Fields with no points, but they should hold their heads high as they gave title chasing T&M more than a bit of a scare. But for a wonderful individual strike on 78 minutes that gave the home side all three points it could well have gone the other way as the Gs squad battled for everything and came very close to a major shock result.
Bearing in mind that horrendous traffic due to the closure of the M3 and delays on the A3 several of the Gs team did not arrive until late and in fact Oneal Garnes did not arrive until well into the first half, even after the start was delayed by 15 minutes.
Step forward Gs hero Chris Musgrove to go in goal in the absence a recognised goalie.
One might have expected that the Gs would be under the cosh from the start, but after fifteen minutes they produced the first meaningful attempt when Nick Hutchings advanced down the left wing and hit a firm shot that the home keeper was just able to tip over. Somehow the referee awarded a goal kick, which was the first of some pretty bizarre decisions on the afternoon.
You would have thought that the home side would have wanted to test the stand-in keeper at every opportunity, but they did not get a decent shot in until late in the first half, but Chris was up to it. The defence in front of him was also solid.
Chris Wales was yellow carded for a tackle just outside the Gs penalty area when he seemed to have got the ball. A bit tough on him, but worse was to come.
The visitors went on to make the best of the first half with Jack Mazzone working his socks off up front once again and getting wide on the left and delivering a low cross that skidded across the face of the home teams goal but which no one could get a foot on to finish it off.
Then, just before half time, Jack Mazzone played a ball from the right into Darren Wheeler in the middle of the pitch and he took off into the penalty area and got a curling left footed shot in, which hit the inside of the upright on his right hand side and somehow managed to bounce out again across the goal to the home keeper, just when the visiting fans (me included) were on their feet celebrating.
0 – 0 at half time, when the Gs realistically could have been ahead.
Former G Danny Bassett came on for T&M shortly after half time as they made two substitutions.The home team did up their game in the second half, but were really not troubling Oneal Garnes, who had taken over the keepers gloves from Chris Musgrove at half time. The Gs were using 3 centre backs in Kyle Bailey, Graeme Purdy, and Chidi Williams, while using Nick Hutchings and Josh Andrew as wing backs, getting forward when in possession.
Chris Wales had another influential game in front of the central defence until the officials decided that having sent off T&M’s Jordan Wilson for a bit of nonsense in front of the dugouts, he should also go when he was apparently in a head-lock at one stage and just pushed the player off him.
Jack Battie, Matt Males and Darren Wheeler made up the midfield wit Jack Mazzone battling away up front. – Both sides down to 10 men.
The game continued with T & M getting the best of the possession, but unable to do too much other than hit long shots. The Gs defence seemed to be able to absorb anything the home team could produce.
Hitcham Adbellah came on for Darren Wheeler on around 75 minutes.
Then, on 78 minutes, T&Ms Billy Dunn hit a fierce low shot from well outside the visitor’s penalty area that found its way into the far bottom corner of the Gs goal.
After that the Gs had to go all out to try to find an equaliser. They won several corner in the dying minutes when Oneal Garnes also joined in the attack and cause some panic in the home defence.
Cameron Karembo came on for Kyle Bailey who was receiving treatment on and off the pitch with a few minutes to go.
The home supporters seemed nervous towards the end but they went home happy in the end.
So another tremendous performance, which, to the casual observer it would not have been at all clear who was at the top of the league or who was at the bottom.
If the current squad continue to play with the determination and commitment that they showed on Saturday they should easily be able to string a few wins together and get themselves up the league table.
Attempts 10 15
On target 5 8
Corners 3 5
Fouls v 18 13
Poss 1st Half 45 55
Poss 2nd Half 42 58
Yellows 4 1
Reds 1 1