Cotton & White Cut Down Forest Row

Report by Alan Burgess
Forest Row 0 v Godalming 5 (0-1) – Southern Combination – at Oakwood FC
Fortunately, the Gees have been creating chances for fun in most matches this season and we have all hoped that sometime soon another of our opponents would ‘cop a pasting’. Saturday was that day as Town hit five for the 3rd time this season and came away with a clean sheet for good measure.
Last season’s evening visit to Forest Row was not one to recall fondly having come away after conceding five ourselves. A quirky ground is Oakwood, many of us recall the strange circles evident on the far side of the pitch and the far-left floodlight pylon which has the look of a Soviet missile installation, barbed wire and all. The circles are now squares of turf which took a battering during the game, but the ‘pylon’ is still there. To add to the fun a bonfire broke out off the pitch in the 2nd half, a real one, I don’t mean our four goals.
The team then, all immaculately turned out in the blue and white striped shirts and blue shorts for their 2nd outing. Correct me if I am wrong, haven’t we not seen them since Hailsham on the opening day? The Keeper and Centre backs had that familiar look with Skipper Luke Beale returning after sitting out Wednesday’s Cup game to join James Colinese and Ollie McAleese in front of Alfie Mickley. Matt Cox starting on the left in what looked like a flatter back four. In the midfield we started James Mariner, Rob Parrott, Liam Avery and Rikkie Letch. Tom White and Sam Boultwood were the forward pairing. Kurt Greenaway, Connor Blanchard, Luca Scanella and Jason Cotton on the bench and good to see a place for George Broad there with them.
The Gees won an early free kick well into the opposition half on the right touchline which perversely led to a scare back in our own area. With the realisation that regular dead ball takers Connor and Luca were on the bench Matt Cox stepped in to take, the ball was cleared and picked up by Forest Row’s Ollie Monnery on the halfway line, we know what a ‘pest’ he can be. He advanced and crossed into the box where fortunately for us his No.9 placed the ball past Alfie but managed to hit the post, the ball rebounding to be cleared up field by Luke.
Settle down Lads! And they did, winning their 1st corner on 6 minutes and a 2nd not long after taken by Boulty with Ollie heading just wide. 15 minutes gone and Coxy played Rob Parrott in down the left, Rob being upended in the box, penalty. Tom White opened his account for the club slotting it to the keepers left and for 1-0 to the Gees.
The next 20 minutes were all Godalming. Good movement between Boulty and Rikkie led to a cross which Rikkie was close to putting away. A Mazza header from another Boulty corner was just over and Rob connected with a Rikkie Letch corner only to see his header cleared off the line. Boulty squeezed a shot narrowly past post and upright after a neat one-two between him and Rob.
Ollie Monnery reminded us Forest Row were not out of it when he turned on a ball in the box to fire wide of Alfie’s left post. I was watching Tom pick up an awful clearance by their keeper outside of the box when the ref signalled another penalty for Godalming for a foul on Rikkie.
Tom stepped up again, changed sides but the keeper went to his right as he did for the first and saved. The last action of the half saw Mazza on the far post again unlucky to head inches over from a corner.
Half time and familiar ground, all the chances and just the one goal.
No changes at half time but a hamstring injury forced Ollie McAleese off to be replaced by Luca within 5 minutes, let’s hope he’s OK. A Forest Row free kick after Luke was given to have handled outside the box was placed wide. Back to business and on 60 minutes Rob Parrott won the ball, turned in the centre circle and fed Rikkie Letch on the right. His perfect pass was to the feet of the incoming Tom White and it was 2-0. With the 2nd goal Ruggs replaced Sam with Jason Cotton. It didn’t take Jason long to get into his stride. Rikkie nodded a Matt Cox interception through to Rob Parrott and Jason was at the far post to put his cross away for our 3rd. 3 minutes later it’s 4-0 as Luca set up Mazza who played a ball forward from halfway, Rikkie Letch ran on to it and slammed it past the keeper. Home and Dry? Yes, even the travelling, cynical, years of hurt, ‘Ultras’ thought so now. Sub time, Kurt and Connor on for Tom and Liam. Forest Row kept going, Luke cleared a chance off the line and Alfie tipped over a shot from our left. George Broad came on for the last 10 minutes replacing the hard-working Rikkie Letch. Another long ball from the back saw Kurt pounce on it to force a save from the keeper. Jason had a goal chalked off for what was presumably seen as a foul by Kurt in the build-up, but amends were made as in the last minute of normal time as a Luca free kick from well into our half was nodded down by Kurt for Jason to volley in number 5.
A very good day at the office. Thank you, Management and Players.