G’s Held by Dogged Arundel

Report by Alan Burgess
Godalming 1 (2) Arundel 1 (2) – Southern Combination
The long-awaited return to Wey Court (only 48 days since Boxing Day and you have all missed the January Sale) and the first home game of 2023 played on February the 11th.
It turned out to be something of a damp squib. 90 minutes of Gees football that was too much like the first half of last week’s game rather than that which we have become accustomed to. We were made to come back from a goal behind twice and yet we could/should have taken all three points but for a controversial disallowed goal in the dying minutes of the match.
The starting line up then, Your Goalkeeper – Alfie Mickley, Centre backs – Captain Luke Beale, James Colinese and Ollie McAleese, to their right, Connor Blanchard, to their left, Luca Scanella. A shuffle in front of them with Ross Cheek, James Mariner and Rob Parrott behind Rikkie Letch and Tom White picked up front. Matt Cox, returned from a skiing trip in one piece, took a place on the bench alongside Kurt Greenaway, Sam Boultwood, Jason Cotton and keeper Ollie Ballam.
Maybe we knew it might be a bit of an off day when Alfie seemed to misjudge a cross for an early Arundel corner and shortly after miss kicked a clearance in front of an approaching forward, James Colinese clearing up the danger. That was not like the keeper we have come to know and love.
Godalming won their first corner on 18 minutes, good play between Connor and Rikkie being deflected out. Two more corners followed, defended by all 11 Arundel players, but except for Luke Beale’s overhead kick which forced the keeper to palm the ball out they came to nought.
The only moment of any humour came when the Man in Black took Ross Cheek aside within our earshot and outlined in his opinion the not one, but all three offences Ross had managed to commit in as many seconds to warrant the free kick that he had just given against him. Telling off complete and no card despite the tale we had overheard I remarked that we must have a violent offender out there, “You should be saying ‘Well done Ref’” said the man with the whistle.
A fortunate goal came for Arundel around the middle of the half when a speculative shot from outside the box was deflected by an incoming tackle into the top corner of the net leaving Alfie stranded. The Gee’s behind for the second game in succession and in truth we had huffed and puffed with no real penetration, our best chances coming from set pieces, Rob Parrott heading over from a free kick on the half hour. It could have been worse, we all feared for Ollie when he appeared to be last man as an Arundel striker broke through and went to ground, fortunately the cards stayed in the pocket. Better then when on 38 minutes our free kick on the left was pulled back across goal by Captain Luke on the far post for Rikkie Letch to pounce, 1-1 at the break.
No changes at half time and nothing much of note in the second half until Arundel won a corner 10 minutes in, a player, his back to goal, was allowed to turn and place the ball back across goal ending up in the net. Behind again, hasn’t happened in such a long while. The reaction, to the bench. Boulty on for Mazza on 65 minutes although with Sam playing much deeper than his usual position. Jason on for Connor on 70 and Coxy and Kurt on for James C and Tom with 15 to go. Even with the changes we were not creating the chances that we have been of late. Kurt was brought down shortly after coming on but the resultant free kick was over the bar.
With 10 minutes left a Rob Parrott cross from the right was put out for a corner over on the left which Ross Cheek planted in and Rob himself was there to put the ball in the net, back on terms at 2-2.
Then the final sting in the tale. With a couple of minutes left Jason was fouled just outside the box. Ross again took the free kick and the ball was bundled into the net at the far post, I’ll admit I don’t know by who. The linesman on the golf course side clearly waved his flag towards the centre spot, the keeper made no complaint that I saw or appeared to have been fouled or impeded but the referee decided to disallow the goal. He went over to speak to the linesman but that looked to be more to confirm his decision rather than to consult with him.
The match finished with some ‘handbags’ around the corner flag, Jason picking up a booking. Despite the length of time that it all took to sort out the final whistle blew as the Arundel free kick was taken.
Not a good day at the office, must do better.
Met Police away Wednesday in the Surrey Prem Cup and back to the league at one of those two teams at the end of the Runway, Gatwick Airport, near Crawley, West Sussex next Saturday. Kick Off time either 2 or 3 pm at a guess.
“Alexa, what time does Forest Row v Godalming Town kick off next week?”