Lacklustre Goalless Draw with Hailsham

Report by Alan Burgess
Godalming 0 Hailsham 0 – Southern Combination
The last day of February and only our second home game of the year; one that won’t live long in the memory either.
The starting line-up was Alfie Mickley in goal, a flat back four of Captain, Luke Beale and Ollie McAleese as centre backs with on the right Matt Cox and left Luca Scanella. Ross Cheek, James Mariner and Rob Parrott in midfield alongside Sam Boultwood in a deeper role behind a front paring of Kurt Greenaway and Tom White. Four on the bench, Liam Avery, Rikkie Letch, Connor Blanchard and Jason Cotton.
Boulty broke through the Hailsham defence very early in the game but couldn’t score and after 5 minutes the Ref had the card out to a Hailsham defender for kicking the ball away. The Gees seemed to be struggling to get into the game and conceded a corner after 10 minutes. Ross Cheek tried a long shot which the keeper parried easily and shortly after Kurt was brought down on our right. Ross’s free kick ‘ping ponged’ around the area but no one was able to supply the finishing touch. A couple of Gees half chances followed but on 22 minutes Hailsham hit the bar after a run down our left. Something just didn’t seem right tonight, and it was not until 35 minutes on the clock that Godalming won their 1st corner after Rob Parrott had set Tom White in with a chance. From the corner Captain Luke’s header was cleared off the line.
Hearts were in mouths as Alfie managed to hit the forward in front of him with a drop kick, but he was first to the loose ball to boot it out for a throw. 5 minutes from half time Hailsham’s 2nd corner looked suspiciously as if it may have hit our near post! Next up they had a very soft appeal for a penalty rightly turned down. The final act of the half saw Mazza place a free kick over after another foul on Kurt.
Just as the whistle blows someone (who will remain nameless) can be heard saying “Thank Goodness for that” in earshot of my phone, sums it up I’m afraid.
As you were for the 2nd half where Kurt was almost immediately booked, Ref setting his mark down again. The Hailsham No. 8 got an extra yard and be thankful, he should have done more than blast the ball wide. 1st change on 55 minutes Jason on for Kurt. Another Gees corner played ‘ping pong’ and was eventually cleared and Rob and the opposition No.4 were both booked after a little tussle on the touchline, not much in it. More changes, Liam on for Cheeky and minutes later Rikkie and Connor replaced Boulty and Tom. Hailsham got the ball in the net as Alfie’s punched clearance was sent back into the area, offside!
15 to go and their keeper fumbled a cross for a corner and our 3rd bout of ‘ping pong’ in front of goal saw the ball stay out. Jason attempted an overhead kick which unfortunately did ‘what it said on the tin’ and went over. Connor tried from range but was also high. We endured another stoppage which somehow was resolved with a drop ball for the Gees, a mystery, but that was followed by a Hailsham sinbinning on 88 minutes. No use to man or beast is sinbinning in my opinion.
Jason had another chance which was stopped by the keeper’s legs. After some deliberation by the officials Luca took a yellow card for ‘detaining’ a runaway forward, from what we had seen up to then we weren’t sure the ref might not call the forward as last man and fancy a red card instead.
A draw then, not a good day at the office.
A rare clean sheet, putting my positive smiley face on. No last-minute goals conceded, another smiley face.
Final words, credit Hailsham, they came for the point, fought for it and got it. They didn’t want to come this far midweek and sense says they didn’t need to. (Yes, I know we went to them midweek last season but that was the luck of the Cup, and there was no luck that night I recall). We had a free Saturday last week while Hailsham were away to Worthing, about half of the distance they must travel to Godalming. I understand attempts to switch the Saturday and Tuesday games were vetoed by the league. At 7.05pm the 8th Hailsham player made it to the ground, by kick off they made 11 plus 2 subs. I’m pretty sure we had our lowest gate of the season, FA cup on the telly and it was cold and later wet. Does it make commercial sense?
On to Saturday and we’ve at home again Montpellier Villa, 3 pm.