Match report by Graham Harris
Godalming 3 (2) – (0) 0 Midhurst & Easebourne
With Midhurst and Easebourne now sitting second in the league, having been out in front for much of the season, this was going to be a big challenge for the home team in this substitute Boxing Day contest. But, early goals from Rob Parrott and Charlie Oakley both being provided by Connor Blanchard, followed by a third goal late in the second half by James Frudd saw the G’s pick up all three points.
After such a comprehensive display against Arundel I am sure that Phil and his team would have preferred not to have had a sixteen-day gap with no games before this fixture, to make the most of the lift that that result must have brought to the squad.
The weather was not helping the build up to this game, having had several days of persistent rain, it was still falling at kick off. But that did not put off a healthy crowd of around 145 who were prepared to endure the rain, to cheer on the home team.
Absent from the G’s squad were Myles Davidson-Townsend, John Coussens, Tobias Sims and Ollie McAleese. The G’s were also without top scorer Cameron Edwin and Connor Young who was the hat trick hero against Arundel.
Phil had picked a back four of James Colinese, Lucca Scanella, James Mariner and Luke Beale in front of Adrian Giles in goal. In the midfield boiler room were Rob Parrott, Kurt Greenaway and Sam Boultwood.
Charlie Oakley was back in the number nine shirt with Connor Blanchard and James Frudd as the wide players. An impressive bench included Matt Cox, Jahobi Maher, Elijah Carter, and birthday boy Ollie Ballam.
It was clear from the kick off that the visitors had some pretty sizeable defenders on duty and perhaps their choice to play a high defensive line would allow the G’s pace men up front some opportunities to get in behind them.
It only took a few minutes of play before the G’s attacking the goal at the road end to be awarded a free kick out on their left flank. Connor Blanchard delivered a super curling ball to just beyond the 6- yard area where Rob Parrott simply soared to head home powerfully to the delight of the home supporters.
It only took a couple of minutes for the G’s to double their lead as they put together a super passage of approach play involving Sam Boultwood and Rob Parrott in some great “give and goes” before a through ball was played for Connor to chase towards the right side of the goal line. It was touch and go if he would make it and there was a defender on his heels, but Connor delivered a great ball in while jumping to avoid the contact, which was bound to come. If the cross was good, and it was, the final shot from Charlie Oakley was even better, taken on the volley and hit hard. What a start for the lads!
At this stage the G’s were dominating and indeed the Connor / Charlie duo nearly added a third with pretty well a re-run of the previous goal. But this time the visiting keeper was able to pull off a very creditable block from close range and gathered the ball subsequently.
Great to see Charlie getting himself into spaces in the opposition area and Connor, as I said previously about his Arundel game, back to his energetic best.
The pitch was cutting up, as it was bound to do, and making twisting and turning a lottery for defenders and forwards alike.
The first yellow card of the game went to the Midhurst number 2 for a tackle on Kurt Greenaway.
Connor had the ball in the visitor’s net when he chipped their keeper, but was ruled offside.
2 – 0 to the G’s at half time and from what I recall only one serious shot from the visitors that bothered Adrian in the first 45 mins.
Early in the second half James Colinese was yellow carded and probably that prompted Phil to replace him a short while later. Jahobi coming on for him, while Rob Parrott moved back to right back.
M&E were now putting the home side under more pressure than they managed to do in the first half and won themselves some corners and free kicks. Adrian was called on to snuff out some high balls that he does so well and bravely.
But the G’s defences stood firm, and the G’s still held a threat. Fruddy made a great run down the left in front of the main stand beating a couple of defenders, as he went, before delivering the ball into the area. Where a couple of G’s forwards were awaiting. The ball bobbled around before Jahobi took possession, made a little space and hit a left footed shot that went just past the far post.
The G’s whole midfield and defence was working hard with Kurt getting stuck in to break up play time and again and covering so much ground. He was outstanding. As was Luke Beale. But we are used to seeing him producing captains’ performances.
M&E did get a header in that appeared to hit the foot of the G’s upright. But that is as close as they got.
M&E had picked up a few more cards as they seemed to get a bit more physical. In the end their number 4 was shown a red card for a second yellow following a challenge on Boults.
Ex G Harry Dowell came on for the visitors in their defensive back four. Good to see he is now recovered to full fitness.
As the game went on Elijah was brought on to replace Boults. who I hope had enjoyed the break giving his dodgy foot a chance to recover? Elijah made some timely tackles and interceptions under pressure.
The G’s nerves were settled by the tireless running of James Frudd, who latched on to a clearance over the top as he cut in from the left. The lino called “he is ON” and held his flag to the floor as he chased the line. Fruddy took it calmly and hit a strong low shot past the advancing keeper. Surely sealing the result as the ball bulged the net.
All together a terrific game, played under difficult conditions, where the G’s produced yet again a superb whole team performance. Thanks lads. It is great to watch and enjoy the positive vibes around Wey Court these days.
We are so fortunate to have such a strong squad I was tempted to say that Phil is like the Pep Guardiola of the Southern Combination League. But that would be silly.
We are on the road for the next couple of weeks to Oakwood on Monday the 3rd of Jan where I hope we can complete the hat trick of wins over the festive season. Remember it is an 11 o’clock kick off!
Happy New Year to all at GTFC particularly the stalwart band who keep the wheels turning behind the scenes week on week and COYG’s