Report by Alan Burgess
Billingshurst (1) 1 v 0 (2) Godalming – Southern Combination Division 1 League Cup – FINAL
It’s my birthday today, Star Wars Day and ‘May the 4th be with you’, and I had an early present last night as the Gees picked up the League Cup. Played at Broadbridge Heath it was the old cliché of a game of two halves as the boys woke up from a first half slumber at the aptly named BodyMould Mattress Stadium to deliver a storming second half turnaround.
Near panic in the car parks as Kurt Greenaway and Matt Cox were caught in traffic enroute, Matt after a 6-hour drive from Liverpool, we don’t deserve him. The starting eleven saw Alfie Mickley in goal with Skipper Luke Beale and James Colinese at centre back, Ollie McAleese and Connor Blanchard to the left and right of them. James Mariner in front of the back four alongside Luca Scanella, Rob Parrot and Ross Cheek in the midfield. Tom White and Sam Boultwood were the chosen front two. Ready and waiting on the bench were Liam Avery, Matt Cox, Kurt Greenaway, Danny Mills and Jason Cotton. Rikkie Letch, George Broad and Will Ab-Iowerth were also on hand in support.
After the disappointment of last Saturday, we started brightly. Luca spent some minutes having treatment after he took an early knock but got back up to combine with Ollie McAleese feeding the ball to Tom in a move which produced our first corner. The pairing then set up Boulty who was brought down, Ross Cheek winning our 2nd corner from Mazza’s free kick. Boulty picked up a ball from Rob Parrott, saw his shot parried by the goalkeeper, Tom going over with the rebound.
After 12-15 minutes of virtual one-way traffic the momentum swung, Billingshurst it seemed were being given more time on the ball and making use of it. With Luke screaming at his team to win the 2nd ball we appeared to fall back into our shells, shades of Saturday. Billingshurst were dominating but not carving out much in the way of chances until on 35 minutes a throw from our right saw their forward given a chance to turn and fire home from inside the box. Oh dear 1 -0 down! On their next foray forward an overhead kick cleared Alfie and hit the crossbar, dropping to safety. Ross Cheek pulled up on the half line, sadly the end of the game for him and he was immediately replaced by Liam Avery. Billingshurst attacked again and thankfully the ball went begging as it shot across the goalmouth. The Gees managed to win a corner in the final move of the half which saw Mazza’s header saved, but at the whistle that promise of the first 15 minutes seemed a long time ago.
Half time break and Coxy appeared on the pitch, ‘He’s going ballistic in there’ he announced. No need to ask who ‘he’ was, the only wonder was how Matt had escaped the inquisition. No changes then as the players appeared on the park early, a sure sign of a half time ‘ballisticing’. There is another word I could use but there might be children reading. From the off a discouraging sign as Billingshurst won a corner but there was a new buzz about the Gees’, straight back up the other end and Boulty’s cross just missed Tom’s head as Connor latched on to it but put it over. 6 minutes into the half and Tom played in Boulty whose shot was deflected back out to Luca. Luca did no more than pick his spot and fire the ball past the keeper into the back of the net, 1-1, back on terms. Ruggs immediately replaced Connor Blanchard with Jason Cotton, an additional forward before the game restarted.
Rob Parrott received his traditional card, yellow this time from our referee Mr Ali, they must be best mates after this season. That just distracted from the Gees forward momentum as Rob himself couldn’t keep his shot down from a Liam cross. James Colinese won a throw-in from which Luca won a corner; Captain Beale got to the corner but couldn’t convert it. Boulty burst forward toward the goal roared on by the faithful, but his shot only found this side netting. Coxy replaced James Colinese on the hour mark. I’d missed that until we saw Matt brought down by a challenge that earned a Billingshurst yellow card. They were looking rattled. Jason Cotton found space to shoot but the keeper managed to tip it away for a corner. On 70 minutes Jason was taken out in front of our bench, a straight red card followed by the obligatory handbags after which Boulty found his way into the book. From the free kick Gees won another corner which bypassed the waiting Ollie McAleese and Luke Beale. Jason went down under another challenge, but play was waved on and Sam saw another chance go over the bar.
We’d had 30 minutes of the Godalming Town show, 15 left. Matt Cox powered his way down the right wing beating two challenges to lay the ball back to Boulty. Sam’s delivery into the box picked out the head of Jason Cotton who placed the ball beyond the keeper, not bad for a man who a certain Phil Ruggles came on for in the Pompey Legends game on Sunday. 2-1 Gees and no more than the efforts since the break had deserved. Sam Boultwood was replaced by Kurt Greenaway. This is the part where for the rest of the game the team retreats 20 – 30 yards deeper, lets the opposition come on to them and we bite our fingernails but bar the dying moments that really didn’t happen. True, Billingshurst had two penalty appeals turned down and an effort that went wide but Godalming also had their chances to wrap it up. James Mariner unlucky from a corner and Liam testing the keeper from one of his runs into the box. Billingshurst finished with nine men on the park and one in the sin bin while their ‘Ultras’ wasted the flares that they had brought along trying to wind up Alfie.
Final whistle, Ee Aye Addio and we won the Cup, let the celebrations commence. An astounding 2nd half, what was said in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.
That is probably that from me for this season. Thank you all for reading these efforts, a thank you to all those involved with the Club and to Graham who makes this match report thing look easy. Finally, a big thank you to the management and players, a great bunch of lads who have put smiles back on faces at Godalming Town FC.
Finally, finally we should say that was only the first Cup Final of the season with another coming up, it’s against someone, it’s sometime this month and it’s almost certainly to be played at Dorking’s ground.
Watch this space.