Montpelier Villa

Godalming 2 (1) v (0) 0 Montpelier Villa

Before we get on to the game itself, I’d like to say a few words in appreciation of Club Captain Luke Beale who announced his decision to hang up his boots this week. It won’t be the same without hearing those shouts of ‘Name on It’ at every high ball coming in on our defence. You have played a big part in leading this club out from where it was four seasons ago, and we’ve even picked up some silverware on the way. For all your efforts, many thanks and we all hope you are going to continue leading the line from the bench.

Montpelier Villa sat just one point behind us before the game, a significant improvement on their position last season. The management named Ryan O’Sullivan in goal with a back four of Jack Sherwood, Danny Mills, Rikkie Letch and Ollie McAleese. Good news in midfield with the returns of James Mariner, captain today, and Rob Parrott both playing alongside Ross Cheek and Luca Scannella. That left Cameron Edwin and Jason Vincent to complete the starting eleven. On the bench sat Jason Cotton, Kieran Ferguson. George Broad, Ben Matthews and, welcome to a new face, Hayden Eaglestone.

A very decent crowd of 154 saw a good solid start from the Gees again. The first Montpelier clearance was a record breaker for the season so far, clearing the roof of Kwik Fit it was last seen heading towards the Naval Club. 2 minutes gone and Ross Cheek had the ball in the net, firing home from the edge of the box. But the Naval Club must have given us our ball back and some Montpelier players, not playing to the whistle, stopped to complain about two balls being on the pitch. Do you feel that the opportunity to strike off a Godalming goal is sometimes too much temptation for officials? After a debate with the linesman our referee decided to chalk this one off, but for offside, not that many of us remember seeing a flag at the time.

The first Gees corner soon followed and Mazza’s effort was deflected over the bar, Rob Parrot saw a backheel trickle past the post from Luca’s second corner. Sloppy away defending gifted Ross another chance with a long range effort. 11 minutes gone and Cam advanced down the left, Ross ran across the box to pick up the incoming pass and went down. Penalty thank you. A tad soft? but we will take them anyway they come. Mazza thumped home from the spot sending the keeper the wrong way. Montpelier won two corners as the half progressed, the first cleared after some bobbing about in the box, the second resulting in a spot of handbags on our ‘D’. Various combinations of captains and players were called over by the Ref and linesman, sent away, then called back, all of which took up some time but ended with no cards shown.

Jack Sherwood put over three good crosses all of which were inches away from various Godalming heads and another where Jason Vincent’s attempted backheel also went the wrong side of the post. Only 1-0 at the half time whistle, but Godalming for my money were well on top, certainly in terms of chances created.

No changes on the field for the second half, although plenty of changes around the touchlines with everyone seeking the shelter of the stands as the Met Office’s promised 4pm downpour arrived exactly to time. Difficult conditions but Godalming started well. Mazza set up Cam whose deflected shot fell just too far in front of Jack Sherwood. We then witnessed a blinding double save from the Montpelier keeper as he kept out first Jason’s and from the rebound Cam’s shots inside the box. The second goal came on 55 minutes, Jason got on the end of a perfect Ollie McAleese through ball and rounded two defenders to place it in the net. We reached the hour mark with a second penalty appeal for another challenge on Cheeky being turned down, probably a stronger candidate than the one that was given in my eyes.

Last 15 minutes and Cam and Luca combined to play in Rob who was given offside, and the Montpelier 17 saw yellow for dispatching the offside Rob to the ground. As Rob ran back past the Montpelier 10, their skipper, we witnessed this season’s leading contender for both an Oscar and the Tom Daley Diving Gold medal as 10 threw himself to the ground apparently poleaxed by Mr Parrott. Ben Matthews came on for Mazza and Jason (C) replaced Jason (V). Montpelier should have scored as with only Ryan O’Sullivan to beat their forward hit the post; he was given offside anyway. Back at the other end Jack appeared to be pushed over in the box and to add insult to injury got up, tackled back and what looked a fair challenge was called a foul against him.

By this time the floodlights were on, well three quarters of them anyway. On that subject I understand we may anticipate being in a better position by the next home game. Down at that road end Ryan pulled off his save of the day to deny Montpelier on the near post. Not to be outdone Montpelier’s keeper pulled another stop out of the bag to deny Jason (C) who had neatly beaten two men enroute to goal. Final substitutions for Godalming, Kieran Ferguson on for Cam and a first appearance for Hayden Eaglestone on for Luca. Hayden gave us a pleasing little juggle down the left touchline before being fouled and then it was all over. 2-0. I liked what I read in Tony’s programme notes about learning to control a game when we get in front and apart from the odd moment, that is pretty much how it went.