It was Godalming Town who came out on top in the first Godalming/Guildford derby fixture in seven years; and the three points gained were enough to take Godalming back to the top of the Central division table. After a bright morning, the heavens opened again prior to kick-off and a large holiday crowd gathered at Weycourt in the growing Boxing Day gloom.
With the pitch in surprisingly good condition following the recent rain, Godalming came flying out of the blocks, and Dan Read on the right caused some early consternation in the City penalty area with crosses into the danger area. City were struggling to gain an early toe hold on the game, and several crosses and free-kicks were squandered with poor delivery. Dan Read himself had a good opportunity on the quarter hour for the home side, but his first time effort at the near post smashed into the side setting. City themselves were noticeably growing in confidence and on 18 minutes they had a golden chance to take the lead. Joel Hughes latched onto a loose ball and ghosted past the right back, before pulling a low ball across the six yard box. The on-rushing Jack Guilford though couldn’t get a firm enough connection and Somerville saved smartly low down. Minutes later Guilford picked up a loose ball, and set up Tommy Tydeman whose low effort from the edge of the box was blocked, only for Guilford to blaze the rebound high and wide. The deadlock was broken on 26 minutes. A mistimed defensive header fell to the fit again Darren Wheeler who didn’t need a second invitation to smash the ball home from 18 yards. To Guildford’s credit they still tried to play football and they did have the ball in the net before the interval, when Tom Penson’s effort from a Rayner free-kick was judged narrowly to be offside.
Undoubtedly with Kev and Roly’s wise words ringing in their ears, City opened the second period brightly. An early City corner zipped across the goalmouth with frustratingly nobody able to get a touch. On 56 minutes Tom Penson’s cross from the right was met by Joel Hughes whose mistimed glancing header went harmlessly wide. Minutes later City went two behind. Keeper Antony Hall miskicked a clearance straight to Dan Read, who set up Darren Wheeler to drive high into the net from 15 yards. Immediately afterward Antony Hall made a smart save low down to keep City in the match. As the game entered its final stages City were down to ten men after Simon Cooper was shown a red card for kicking out of the ball. However City, with both Elgar brothers on from the bench, still went forward. On 75 minutes they had a golden chance from the penalty spot, after Joel Hughes had been fouled in the box. Dan Moody strode up to take the spot-kick with 21 consecutive penalty successes behind him. Of course the run had to end at some point and that day was Boxing Day at Godalming. Moody’s firmly struck shot being met brilliantly low down by Jake Somerville. With ten minutes remaining the home side’s Ryan Lake was also shown a red card and so the final stages were played out with ten players apiece. On 87 minutes Moody’s first time effort was parried wide, and from the resulting corner Joel Hughes header drifter over the bar. You certainly couldn’t fault the effort in what were trying conditions, and City must now re-group to face the next challenge.
Antony Hall, Elvis Defreitas (Scott Elgar 78), Ben Rayner (Junior Kaffo 89), Simon Cooper, Jamie Thoroughgood, Corey Holder, Dan Moody, Tommy Tydeman, Jack Guilford (Danny Elgar 64), Joel Hughes, Tom Penson.
Unused substitutes: Dammy Bada, Mike Hall.
Cautioned: Ben Rayner
Sent off: Simon Cooper
Referee: Craig Green