3 Points at Oakwood

Report by Graham Harris
Oakwood 0 (0) v (0) 1 Godalming Town
There may have been only the one goal in it at the end, but that in no way reflected the performance on the pitch, in this must win fixture for the Gs. As has been the case for much of this season, the Gs dominated both possession and territory throughout the game, without converting their dominance into goals.
It was interesting to see that there was a new coach in the G’s dugout, who Phil explained was there to try to improve the goal scoring ratio, so a welcome to the new coach, who I now see is Warren Burton. Let’s hope he can give Phil and the lads some useful pointers.
Other new faces in the kit and on the bench were Connor Harlowe from the development squad and Will Ab-Lorwerth from the U 18s. Welcome to them as well.
Also on the bench was James Mariner, who came off injured early on Tuesday night, and James Colinese, also recovering from injury. Kurt Greenaway also left the field early on Tuesday night at Epsom and so was not present. Hopefully he will recover soon. Other notable absentees were Matt Cox, who if I remember correctly is on holiday at present and Connor Blanchard.
So, with all that in mind it meant that there had to be changes to the usual line-up and Sam Boultwood, who has played in almost every position on the pitch apart from in goal, was drafted into the back three alongside captain Luke Beale and Ollie Mc Aleese in front of our stand-in goalkeeper Ryan O’Sullivan who has looked very comfortable in between the sticks for Gs.
Rikkie Letch and Luca Scannella were the wide players.
Rob Parrott was in front of the back line with Liam Avery and Ross Cheek in the midfield boiler room and Tom White and Jason Cotton upfront.
The first ten minutes went well for the visitors as they won a couple of corners and Liam Avery went close with a header from a good delivery in from Ross Cheek.
Ross did not fare well at the start of the game, receiving treatment at least twice and maybe three times, including an accidental coming together with his head and Liam’s long legs.
On the half-hour mark, the Gs produced a good phase of passing football down the right, before the ball was played in to Jason, who unleashed a terrific shot that unfortunately bent in flight a bit too far away from the keeper, as it also missed the near upright.
Another good G’s move down the middle of the park, saw Liam take the ball from the halfway line towards the on-rushing home keeper. After neatly sidestepping him, Liam played the ball to Tom White on his left coming in at pace. Tom put the ball away, only for it to be called as offside. Shame because it was a good move.
Not long after Tom appeared to be taken out by the home stopper as he attempted to chip the ball over him, just as he had done to the keeper at Epsom on Tuesday. But the referee was not convinced and awarded nothing.
Rob Parrott got in a fine drive from the edge of the penalty area, before the home keeper dived to get both hands to it and turned the ball around for yet another G’s corner.
A second yellow card issued to the home side.
A fine shot from Ross Cheek from the edge of the box was deflected wide off a defender for a corner shortly before another shot came in from Rikkie Letch, again deflected off a defender, but was still goal bound, until the home keeper again managed to dive and turn it round for another corner for the Gs. I was not keeping formal records of the corners, but we won lots of them.
How we got to the halfway point without scoring is beyond me. But it was 0 -0 at the break.
The second half saw the Gs playing up the slight slope, towards the entrance end of the ground, and they started the second half as they had finished the first, by pressing their hosts.
Finally Tom White was pulled down by the home keeper as he advanced on goal. This time the referee pointed to the spot and issued a yellow card to the keeper, who had had a fine game for Oakwood. Tom stepped up to take the kick and put it away well hard and low. Finally in front. 1 – 0.
The Gs attacked down their left with Jason in possession. Jason then beautifully swung the ball well across the pitch to Rikkie on the opposite side. Rikkie had had another good game getting on the end of goal kicks and showing some good pace, driving towards the goal. He did so again and hit a good shot beating the on-form keeper, but unfortunately it went just wide of the far post.
Rob Parrott was then replaced by James Mariner. Rob had been an absolute powerhouse on Tuesday night and again today, showing what energy he can bring.
Ross Cheek took a free kick on the edge of the area and instead of using power he went for a delicate chip that left the Oakwood keeper stranded, but the ball rebounded out somehow off the far upright.
Connor Harlow got his chance to enter the fray, coming on for Tom White who was having another good game.
Jason was still finding space out wide on the left and made another good run into the area hitting a great low shot that the keeper batted round for yet another Gs corner. Jason seems to be looking fitter now and putting in the miles, defending from the front.
Another cross I think from Jason saw the ball fly across the face of the home goal at about chest height, where Connor stooped to get his head to it, but could not get enough contact to divert the ball into the net.
Rikkie then came off for Will Ab-Lorwerth to make his debut for the Gs. Rikkie had been very successful, winning plenty of balls in the air and looking threatening with his pace and power.
When it is only 1 -0 there is always a concern that a silly mistake, or rash challenge, could lead to an equaliser, so the lads had to stay aware until the final whistle.
Connor was putting himself about upfront and got carded for a rash tackle.
Not long after Connor challenged the home keeper, for a ball a long way outside his area and the ref was not happy about it. So he received a second yellow and was sent off to leave the lads a man down for the last few minutes.
I suspect some relief at the final whistle from the Gs squad and from Oakwood too for their staunch efforts in defence and their keeper for keeping them in the game on several occasions.
A good performance from the whole Gs squad yet again against mid table opposition
Next up Shoreham in the cup at home on Tuesday evening. I will not be there. So please give the lads a few “COYG’s” from me and a couple of “the mans an animal” or “come on ref he’s only little” would be appreciated.