Report by Graham Harris
Godalming 5 (1) V (1) Billingshurst
After some very encouraging results through the preseason this was a great start to the new season for the Gs’ on a very hot and sunny afternoon at the Bill Kyte Stadium. They were just too strong on the day for the visitors from Billingshurst who, despite a good goalkeeping performance, ended being well beaten. The Gs’ new keeper signing Alfie Mickley in truth had very little to bother him throughout the game.
Many of the goals came from balls played in from wide positions and the wide players Rikkie Letch and Connor Blanchard today certainly did their bit. Matt Cox was also as usual keen to get forward and delivered a number of crosses.
During the first half the Gs’ had plenty of possession and Jason Cotton had several attempts on goal, but narrowly missed. He was a constant problem for the visiting defence. Sam Boultwood had a couple of attempts on goal as did Connor.
The Gs’ opened the scoring after some good passing movements before Connor Blanchard broke through on the ball and as the visiting keeper advanced, he hit a shot that was too strong to keep out.
The Gs’ went in at half time 1-0 up and came out for the second looking even more dangerous. Indeed, it was probably around a minute or two into the second half when they got their second. They attacked down the right through Rikkie Letch and the cross was met well by Jason Cotton and parried away by the Billingshurst stopper. But Liam Avery picked it up and hit a fine shot from midway between the 6-yard line and the edge of the area.
The third came shortly after, when another shot from Jason was blocked, but bounced up and Rob Parrott reacted quickest heading home from close range.
With The G’s looking quite comfortable and well in control, Phil then made changes and took off Jason and Liam in favour of James Frudd and Kurt Greenaway. For a while this seemed to unsettle the Gs’ a little and they conceded a goal from a free kick hit just above head height, which was met by a glancing header leaving little chance for Alfie to do anything about it.
James Mariner then came on for Sam Boultwood to bolster the Gs’.
Jack Smith came on around ten minutes later for Rikkie and from a ball that came from the left flank. Jack Smith got up well to head back from beyond the far post towards goal. James Frudd was this time quickest to the ball and turned it in from close range. 4 – 1 now to the Gs’.
The Gs’ were not yet done as a corner on the left was delivered in by Connor beautifully and James Mariner came in at pace and produce a thundering header to make it 5 for the home side.
It has been great to see that there are so many of last year’s crowd favourites still in the squad. Some of those were missing today Ollie Mc Aleese (suspended), Luca Scanella and Ross Cheek unavailable. So, there is an abundance of riches to look forward to. Jamie Kaffo made his first team League debut and looked comfortable at left back and came forward when the occasion allowed, only being replaced by Dan Mills, another debutant, for the final 10 -15 or so minutes. Liam made his League debut as also did Rikkie. Both proving that their impressive performances in preseason were just the start of what is to come.
The home defence was so impressive throughout the game, so it made it a pretty straightforward afternoon for Alfie. Captain Luke Beale was receiving attention on the pitch for a while, but fortunately was able to continue for a full 90 minutes alongside James Colinese. They were a great partnership.
Top of the table after that. Lets continue this great start at Hailsham next week.