The nightmares of last season’s South & West campaign came back to haunt Godalming Town as a 3-2 loss at Wimborne dumped the Gs out of the FA Trophy Preliminary Round at the first attempt for the third consecutive year.
It was a game neither side truly deserved to win but Godalming will be disappointed with a defeat at Cuthbury that denied over £2,500 prize money and a trip to Dorchester Town in the next round, as well as ending their five game unbeaten run.
After much change for the midweek Red Insure Cup win over Northwood Godalming reverted to a side similar in personnel to the one that easily saw off Leighton Town last weekend. With Chris Musgrove ill Chris Wales started at centre-back with Liam Roberts playing a deeper midfield role, and Darren Wheeler returned to the starting XI.
In windy conditions in East Dorset neither side made a particularly dominant start but the Gs took an early lead thanks to a simple goal. Nick Hutchings sent a long ball down the left and Wheeler raced on to it before, having beaten Adam Costello to the ball, carefully lifting an effort over the advancing Jason Harvell for his sixth goal of the season.
Shortly after Purdy went in for a 50/50 challenge with Jon Blake sparking a melee involving Wimborne’s physio and Antonio Simeone, but the referee showed just one card and that was to the Godalming striker for the tackle.
Wimborne began to dominate the match and Wales did well to deflect an Ian Oliver effort behind before, in the 20th minute Jamie Davidson steered a shot off target.
The pressure told 5 minutes later however as Magpies’ top-scorer Mark Gamble held up play near the corner and passed inside to Scott Arnold. The Wimborne skipper’s first-time shot took a wicked deflection and flew into the far corner, leaving Richard Ossai with little chance.
Roberts tested Harvell shortly after but the hosts were on top and two minutes after Davidson drew a save from Ossai they were ahead. Sam Griffin crossed from the left and Gamble reacted quickly, forcing Ossai to palm his effort away. The ball then dropped to Blake who has the easy task of poking home from 12 yards out for his fourth goal of the season.
Roberts volleyed wide just before the break as the Gs looked for a quick response but they were slow out the blocks in the second period and in the 48th minute Wimborne should have made it three as Davidson shot wide with only Ossai to beat.
It was a big let off for Godalming and the hosts were made to rue that chance minutes later as Jack Mazzone equalised with his 13th goal of the season. Wales’ long-ball was flicked on by Purdy, falling to Wheeler out wide. The winger picked out the Gs top-scorer superbly who showed great composure at the back-post to powerfully beat Harvell for 2-2.
With the wind in their sails Godalming began to play their best football of the match and Wheeler shot at Harvell in the 54th minute after being played in by Roberts. Oliver headed against the bar from a free kick at the other end but in truth it was the Gs who were on top as they looked to win the tie.
Substitute Marco Micaletto was next to test Harvell as Purdy played an excellent ball through to the youngster who beat Franklyn Clarke before forcing a good save from the former Poole Town stopper.
The introduction of Will Hutton in the 75th minute added another creative dimension to Godalming’s attacks and he combined nicely with Micaletto shortly after coming on, but Mazzone’s touch was just too heavy to round the move off.
Micaletto then volleyed wide from a corner but the hosts were coming back into the game more and more before they struck the winning goal with 5 minutes to play. James Stokoe released Sam Griffin on the left and his low cross was side-footed home with ease by substitute Matt Kemble.
The Gs hadn’t dominated the game but didn’t deserve to be behind, and with Purdy being replaced by George Frith moments after the third Wimborne goal Ashley Lloyd and Simeone went forward in an attempt to force a replay. The Godalming captain was desperately unlucky to see his free-kick drop just wide of Harvell’s left-post deep in to stoppage time but it wasn’t to be.
With another early FA Trophy exit the Gs will now switch their focus to the league which continues next Saturday in a big game at home to fourth place Bedworth United. They then travel to the scene of their other cup heartache this season, Holloways Park, for a league match against Beaconsfield SYCOB on Monday October 27th.
Scorers: Arnold 25’, Blake 40’, Kemble 85’; Wheeler 7’, Mazzone 50’.
Godalming Town XI: Ossai; C. Hutton, Hutchings, Wales, Lloyd; Brown, Simeone; Roberts (W. Hutton 75’); Wheeler (Micaletto 61’), Purdy (Frith 86’), Mazzone.
Subs not used: Crossley, Palladino.
Attendance: 175 (52 away).