Report by Alan Burgess
Mile Oak (1) 2 v 2 (1) Godalming – Southern Combination
Three weeks without a game, do we remember when that happened last season and not through the weather but the fixtures secretary. The return to action saw our playoff chances scuppered. Two points dropped today, the play offs are not scuppered but taking all three points every game becomes that more vital.
I don’t doubt that you are as bored reading about the chances the Gees create but don’t take as Graham and I are writing about it. Same again at Mile Oak but this time with a sting in the tale from their equalizer in 2nd half injury time. I don’t need to remind the faithful that that was the sort of thing that happened to the ‘old’ Godalming far too often.
To the game then, and the team. ‘Game time for the squad’ I heard mentioned pre match so a few changes. First off Alfie Mickley in customary position between the sticks. Danny Mills started at the back with Luke Beale and Ollie McAleese. Connor Blanchard and Matt Cox filled the wider positions on the right and left respectively. (Copy and paste that bit from the last report – and that’s a good thing to able to do, dare we hope the days of using 70 players a season are long gone). Rikkie Letch and Tom White given the go up front, with Liam Avery, Kurt Greenaway and Ross Cheek in the midfield. A strong bench of Sam Boultwood, James Colinese, Jason Cotton, James Mariner and Luca Scanella all waiting in the wings.
A small point, our strip, todays was Yellow Shirts, but teamed with White Shorts!
No exaggeration but we ran riot from the kick off, Mile Oak barely got near a Godalming player before Mr Ross Cheek posted his application for goal of the season with a blinder from 25 yards+, keeper no chance. 1-0 Gees, and about as many minutes on the clock. Rikkie Letch broke down the right, Kurt fed Ross again but both chances went wide. Matt Cox attacked down the left and won our first corner and all with barely 5 minutes gone. The Mile Oak left back then went down for a protracted period of treatment. That break in play put paid to our period of total dominance and on 13 minutes following a free kick Alfie took an easy pick up from the first Mile Oak ball anywhere near our box. Tom White couldn’t help but add to the stoppages when he caught a boot in the face shortly after. He played on into the 2nd half with padding up his nose and a new pair of shorts rather than the customary change of shirt.
We haven’t tried yellow shirts with red shorts yet. That’s not a serious suggestion by the way.
Tom White forced a corner from which Captain Luke saw his goal bound header hit a fellow Gee. There was a shout for penalty as the ball was pumped back in, not given of course but another corner won and Luke’s header from it taken by the keeper.
Mile Oak won their first corner on 31 minutes which they put straight out for a goal kick. Two more chances fell first to Tom, following a through ball from Kurt and from Kurt himself who could only force a corner from a Liam Avery pass. We’ll gloss over the Mile Oak equaliser, an own goal from the unfortunate and under pressure Danny Mills, these things happen and for us very rarely. Kurt was pushed further forward, he fed Tom White who was just beaten to the ball by the keeper and Ross could only put the rebound wide.
9 minutes of injury time played and despite more efforts from the Gees it was all square at halftime.
No changes after the break and the Gees forced three quick corners from the off. The first won by Connor as the keeper pushed behind his effort, all set up by Rikkie Letch. The 3rd corner was punched out by the keeper to Rikkie on the right who pumped it back into the area, Connor headed back across the goal and Kurt popped up to head home in the corner. 2-1 Gees.
Liam Avery won some fine tackles in the middle of the park taking the attack forward, having one shot which passed narrowly over the bar.
Substitution Time No 1 on 55 minutes. Off – White, Blanchard and Mills, On – Scanella, Mariner and Colinese, Matt Cox moving over to the right. Luca straight away created an attacking chance, his shot ending just over the bar. Ross Cheek also shot over and Rikkie wide before Substitution Time No 2 arrived on 66 minutes. This time, Off – Greenaway and Letch, On – Cotton and Boultwood.
I’ll bore you with my take on it all again, I am no fan of 5 subs, too much disruption on the park, but I bow to Ruggs on all things on the pitch. After 30 minutes of control, I felt we began to fall away and let them into the game despite still creating chances. Jason made some runs across goal that did not produce a finish and we saw a booking for Ollie which divided opinion. Still time for Cheeky, living up to his name to be sin binned, remember sin bins?
Unfortunately, it all ended at 2-2 when on 90 plus some minutes, after a couple of easily defended corners, a seemingly simple attack ended up in our net with their substitute forward somehow placing the ball over defender and keeper. Swear words.
A quick word on Mile Oak, despite being situated in the middle of a housing estate in the western suburbs of Brighton, they rock on with minimal local support. They have a ground with more slopes than Switzerland and I am grateful to their supporter who referred to our crew as the ‘Godalming Ultras’ on leaving yesterday. On my return I found that although I’ve been fortunate to make many football trips to Italy yesterday was my 51st Southern Combination match, one more than my games in Serie A.
Avanti then to il San Siro de Chessington, sabato prossimo alle tre.
From Chalky Road to Chalky Lane.