Banstead 0 (0) v (1) 1 Godalming
A wild, wet and windy Wednesday followed on from scorching Saturday. Full credit to ground staff at Banstead for getting this game on. It was a foul evening; a tricky journey and the ground was deserted when I arrived as anyone with any sense sat it out in the Clubhouse until kick off. However, when the lights went on the pitch looked in fine nick, although had the downpour that I later drove home through come earlier I doubt the game could have survived.
And that would have been a pity because a great team performance in the conditions chalked up another 3 points on the road and kept the Gees 100% away league record this season intact.
Wednesday used to be the English default midweek match day but that hasn’t been so for a very long time and last night’s change from the usual Tuesday caused some availability problems I gather. Memo to Management – bear that in mind when we qualify for the Champions League.
On the night, Ryan O’Sullivan was in goal again and in front of him remained Jack Sherwood and Jimmy Norman from Saturday’s back four, with Rikkie Letch moving back to centre half and Ben Matthews coming in at left back. We had the unusual sight of Matt Cox wearing the 7 shirt and playing in midfield alongside Luca Scannella, Josh Di Palma and Skipper, Ross Cheek. The two Jasons, that’s Cotton and Vincent, were up front to complete the line up. Cameron Edwin, Keiran Ferguson, Tom White and Luke Beale sat on the bench, although Luke bless him stood with Tony Roberts, encouraged all match and got a soaking for it. You also suffered a change of match reporter as The Harris’ fell foul of the conditions and then had the double misfortune to arrive at the ground just after we’d scored.
Jason Vincent created an early chance for himself that he couldn’t convert, and it was an even start as Banstead also won an early corner. 10 minutes in Jimmy Norman slammed a free kick into the Banstead wall from some 30 yards out. 7 minutes later Jason Cotton set up Josh Di Parma for a shot which was deflected for the 1st Gees corner. At the other end Luca Scannella mopped up a problem at the back with a fine clearance. 21st minute and Ross Cheek was fouled after picking up a ball from Jason Vincent some 35 yards + out and Ross lined up to take the free kick with Jimmy Norman. It was Jimmy who thumped the ball and it was next seen nestling in the back of the net deceiving the keeper on the way in. 1-0 Gees, a great strike and I’m told something like his goal against Punjab.
It wasn’t all one way traffic for the rest of the half as we saw a Banstead attack down our left ending in a shot over the bar and later a Banstead corner that took 3 attempts to be cleared but the Gees continued to create their own chances. Jason V, who held the ball up well all night, fed Josh on the right, Josh found Jason C coming into the box on the other flank who shot but had the bad luck to see the ball come off the near post, keeper beaten. Jason C also saw a header cleared up and off the line from a Gees corner, Jason V hit the rebound coming off the bar but saw it blocked by a defender. Half time then and still 1-0 Gees.
An enforced change for the 2nd half as Matt Cox was unable to continue with a knee problem, back out there soon we hope, to be replaced by Cameron Edwin who played in an unfamiliar deeper role in midfield. Gees saw off an early Banstead corner and when Josh Di Palma was brought down 10 yards outside the area the Cheek / Norman combination lined up again to take the free kick, Jimmy hitting the side netting. Jack Sherwood played a ball over the top to Cam given on to Jason C to see an intercepted back pass cause problems for the home keeper. The wind and rain, which never stopped, began to worsen and that is my excuse for not being entirely sure who in Blue and White on the hour mark broke through on goal to see his shot saved by the keeper. The ball was punted straight back toward the Gees goal, but a break averted by great work from Rikkie Letch.
Back on the attack and Josh got to the right hand byline, beat one man who fell, crossed the ball to see it cleared by a defender into what looked like the arm of the Banstead man on the ground. Decent shout for a penalty, not given. Substitution on 70 minutes for the Gees as Keiran Ferguson replaced Jason C, Keiran immediately winning a corner from a long throw. Rikkie was given what I thought a harsh yellow for a challenge some 20 yards outside our area. The free kick was taken and went high and wide, but the whistle was blown, and a yellow card presented to a home player, not sure why. To cap it Banstead were given the free kick to retake, fortunately it wasn’t hit wide this time, but just a whole lot higher.
The final substitution was made with 10 minutes left when Tom White came on for Josh Di Palma. The Town wound the time down without too much drama. Luca chanced his arm with a long shot that was straight at the keeper and Kieran put wide a chance played into him after Cam won possession in the middle of the park. The Banstead lad who was booked in the ‘wall’ incident saw a red card for a 2nd offence and there was time for another Cheek / Norman free kick, cleared by the 2nd line of defence.
Whistle blew, 1-0, great effort Gees and a game that was a credit to both sides in the conditions.
On to East Preston on Saturday, where the forecast by the way is less than 5% chance of rain.