Late Watt Strike Earns Point at Arundel

Report by Graham Harris
Arundel (1) 1 – 1 (0) Godalming
Having travelled to Arundel in the past, to see the sights, I was familiar with the large car park near the castle main entrance. However, I had no idea quite how large the car park was, or indeed that it would take more than 25 minutes to simply make a payment on the rather daunting parking machines that resisted the efforts of all those in front of me in the queue to make a payment. Also, that there was a great looking football ground off to the side of it with an impressive level pitch and surrounds all in good condition.
Unfortunately, the football on Saturday did not match up to it.
I am told there were at least seven of the G’s squad who were either not available or injured. So, no captain Luke Beale; James Colinese; Ethan Fishpool; Kurt Grenaway; Matt Cox; Josh Witter or Connor Young.
We were expecting to see that Luke Beale may not make the trip due to the impending arrival of an addition to his family and hope that it all goes well on that front. On the basis that our recent good form has been built upon a very reliable and solid back row, the news that James Colinese was still suffering with an injury, as was Josh Witter, meant that Harry Dowell was called upon to partner Myles Davidson and Sam Taylor as the back three. However, we should still have had enough on the pitch to get amongst the points. There was the familiar figure of Elijah Carter on the bench alongside Victory Dike and Ollie Ballam.
The wing backs were Lucca Scanella and James Frudd with Sam Boultwood; Connor Blanchard; and Jay Maher in the midfield, with Cameron Edwin and George Masella upfront.
All did not go well as we conceded after only 6 minutes when we failed to clear the ball properly in front of Gilesey’s penalty area before we had got up and running. It left Adrian with nothing he could do but to pick the ball out of the net.
However, we steadied the ship and after about 15 minutes it was the G’s who started to gain more control, possession and territory. But, although we did get several shots in, these were all just wide of the mark. George Masella went close and we saw the home keeper be somewhat over casual about a ball he though was going out of play and Cameron almost got onto.
There appeared to be some inconsistencies in the refereeing decisions, which was not going down well on the field of play. George Masella and James Frudd both had shots from the edge of the area, but saw them just whistle past the post or over the crossbar. They also seemed to receive a fair few physical challenges.
Things then got even worse when after an unpleasant incident occurred in front of the two dugouts, which resulted in Sam Taylor being shown a red card, after reacting to the actions of a home player. Unfortunately, Phil also got shown a red and asked to leave the playing area.
Clearly this unsettled all the players and Sam Boultwood was also sin binned by the ref about 8 minutes from the end of the first half. So, the G’s at this time down to 9 players and a goal down.
Adrian Giles pulled of a terrific one-handed stop from an Arundel forward, but he was ruled offside anyway, so it would not have counted. But that sort of thing I feel sometimes lifts a side when they have their backs to the wall and might otherwise have let their heads drop.
As the second half started it was clear that Harry Dowell had been replaced by Byron Watt. Unfortunately it seems that this had not followed due process and Byron picked up a yellow card for just his presence on the pitch, without having been called to do so by the officials.
Connor Blanchard looked really sharp and terrorised the home defence on several occasions, but despite getting his crosses in, they could not be capitalised upon. James Frudd continued to make some dangerous runs cutting in from wide and also received some particularly strong attention from the defenders which went unpunished by the referee.
The whole of the second half saw the G’s pressurise their hosts, but at the end when the final shot came in it was either of target or mishit. There were changes to be made and Elijah came on for George and very soon made some impact, getting in a couple of good through balls and shots on target.
Cameron had chased everything throughout the game and so was replaced by Vic Dike who within moments got in a good shot from an angle, but still, we could not score.
With time running out it looked like the ten men G’s were going to go home empty handed. Arundel were happy to head for the corners when they did get out of their half, but nothing at all in the second half to really test Adrian.
But, with little time left on the clock and the G’s pressing again, Byron came forward and worked his way to a position where he could hit a low drive into the bottom corner of the net, to the delight of the travelling G’s who once again turned up in their numbers and quite rightly cheered the 10 men off the pitch. Having battled through to get a share of the points after the distractions of the first half it was well deserved.
Next up it is a league cup game at home against Forest Row on Tuesday night.