Late Avery stunner Downs Oakwood

Report by Alan Burgess
Godalming (0) 1 v 0 (0) Oakwood – Southern Combination
The penultimate league game of the season for both clubs and the Gees bagged three more points on the way to the play-offs. Coming into the game Oakwood were hovering near the drop zone and still needed one win from their final two games to be safe. A tough game was always going to be on the cards. That word ‘missing’ was applicable again to the Godalming team sheet and a psychologist would have had a field day studying the expressions on the faces of the faithful after they passed through the turnstiles, turned left and left again to be confronted by the team board.
With suspensions and absentees 13 names were on the board. Alfie Mickley in goal, a defence of James Colinese partnered in the centre by a return appearance from Danny Mills. Ollie McAleese at left back and a debut and welcome for recent signing Jayson Dalton on the right. James Mariner with the Captain’s armband was in Midfield with Kurt Greenaway and Liam Avery. Jason Cotton out on the left saw Ross Cheek and James Frudd up front. Fruddy is still around, I don’t know for how long but it’s always good to see him in the side. Luca Scanella and George Broad were named as the subs.
Another bright start by the Gees, Jayson (with a ‘y’) Dalton showing from the off with a great pass down the right wing to Ross Cheek whose cross was just too strong for anyone to pick up. Within the first 5 minutes Jason (without a ‘y’) Cotton had sent over a cross/shot that went wide, Fruddy and Jason combined for Ross to see his shot saved and the keeper intervened again to thwart Cheeky after he had latched onto a Kurt pass. Oakwood took a long throw on the left which was deflected for their first corner. From it Kurt broke up field but before he could make any progress was somehow adjudged to have committed a foul. Oakwood’s resulting free kick going well over the bar.
15 minutes in and the Gees won their first corner also from a deflected long throw in. Mazza headed just over from the kick taken by Cheeky. Fruddy shot over when put in by Kurt and we were treated to some neat approach work, a lot of it coming down the right with Jayson getting involved picking up the ball from Alfie. The Alfie – Jayson combination fed Fruddy, on to Ross who saw his shot saved. A lengthy injury to an Oakwood player saw 7 minutes added to the first half. In injury time and from the third Gees corner Liam had a goal bound header saved by keeper. Oakwood who had been kept pretty quiet up to then broke up field 3 against 2. The first attack was broken up, but the ball fell to the third man, 1-0 Oakwood! Hold on, over on the right, flag up, Offside!
Still time in the added time for Kurt to be brought down again, this time resulting in the first yellow card of the match. Jason picking up the freekick to find Fruddy whose effort was cleared by a defender. Halftime, the Lads on top, not exactly dominant but with no goals to show for their efforts.
A change at half time with Luca replacing Jason Cotton, Kurt playing further forward it appeared. Between Kurt, Sam Boultwood and Rob Parrott is there a position on the park including keeper that they haven’t covered this season? The game continued as the first half, Gees creating chances but the final ball not going our way. One particular melee in front of the Oakwood goal from a corner saw the ball bounce around that goal line three times with our players trying backheels and any other means of scoring before a frantic Oakwood defence managed to clear the danger. Somehow those never seem to go our way. A frantic keeper’s clearance with the boot more akin to a centre half saw off another attack. And the clock seemed to be rushing down. On 75 minutes George replaced Jayson who appeared to be carrying an injury as he left the field, a good debut and looking a promising addition to the side on his first showing.
Some heavy legs out there now and you could hear the pessimists thinking about all those last-minute goals conceded over the years; would it happen today? and wondering if a point would be enough and cursing yet again ‘if only we had scored in the first half at Dorking’. Let’s forget about that last one and move on shall we? Down then to the last 4 minutes of normal time and the tireless Liam Avery picked up the ball on the halfway line, started on a run forward, beat 2, was it 3, opponents, took the ball almost to the edge of the area and unleashed a belter of a shot past the keeper and into the top right-hand corner of the net. 1-0 Gees! A candidate for goal of the season? Certainly.
Still time for two Oakwood corners, Alfie being called into action punching the first to safety and conceding the second after getting down to his left post to divert a long-range Oakwood effort that appeared to be heading goalward. Not forgetting of course Kurt attempting to pull the 14’s shorts down unseen by the officials; we all need a bit of light relief in these tense moments.
Another big team performance from everyone on show, thanks to all of you, a particular word for Danny Mills coming in and looking like he’d never been away.
What does it all mean then? We can all do the sums, and it looks positive for the play-offs. The Selsey v Arundel game on Thursday will have a bearing as neither can get maximum points from their remaining games; a draw is what we want there I suggest. The best thing the Lads can do of course is to pick up the final three points on offer next Saturday at home to Worthing United.
Before that we have the little matter of Dorking Wanderers B/Reserves/U23/Academy again in the League Cup Semi-final at Alfold 7.45 Wednesday.