EGHAM TOWN 0 G ODALMING TOWN 1
By Tempest Ward
Sarnies slip to 3rd
EVO-STIK SOUTHERN LEAGUE - SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2016
EGHAM TOWN 0 (0) GODALMINING TOWN 1 (0)
Chris Musgrove (54)
If the concept of losing two games at once seems a tad strange, I offer Egham Town’s last two as supporting evidence. Prior to this dispiriting setback the Sarnies had been awful at home to Bedford Town. This is the same Bedford Town who lost 0-1 at Ware, who host Egham next Saturday. Egham Town v Godalming Town should have been as straightforward a home win as you could hope for. The trouble seems to be that playing at home gives the players more trouble than playing away, and the shell-shocked Sarnies never looked like winning this one. For the first time under his managership Egham have lost consecutive league games.
Egham are 10th in the table on home form and top away (9/3/5 home and 13/0/4 away). Those home figures have to improve with promotion rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Royston Town still to visit the Runnymede Stadium. The other two games left (Fleet Town and Petersfield Town) can’t be seen as guaranteed three pointers either. Kings Langley lost 1-3 at Potters Bar Town and Royston Town won 2-0 at Chalfont St Peter. Kings Langley are still top but Royston’s win puts them second, dropping the Sarnies to third. There are eight games left for Gary Meakin’s men, who are nine points ahead of sixth placed (and therefore not in the play-offs) Aylesbury. Beating Godalming would have seen Egham back on top.
Sorry if all this statto stuff is boring but, seriously, it is a lot better than watching this match. It was dreadful. It was so bad I offered no-one as a Man of the Match for my mini report to the NLP. They chose Chris Musgrove, because at least what he did was something positive, at least for the visitors. Egham made some inroads early on against a side they had seen off 3-1 at Weymede on 12 December. On 1 December Egham played the Gs at home in the Red Insure Cup and lost 1-2. Danny Bassett, who scored twice, had moved to Godalming from Egham. Egham had signed Ryan De Battista, who opened the scoring in the league cup game, and then, in the league game at Weymede, bagged a stylish hat-trick. He has not scored since and, frankly, like his team mates, rarely looked like doing so in the return. The closest Egham came to scoring was off a Bajram Pashaj shot that skimmed off the face of Gs skipper Graham Purdy. The defensive horror show that saw Bedford win 4-1 seemed to be playing on the players’ minds. Passes were tentative, and the lack of pace going forward indicated an unwillingness to commit too much in case Godalming, like Bedford, took advantage of the space they’d leave behind them. Such caution was perhaps understandable but there is no doubt that a) Godalming were in no way as good as Bedford and b) they were there for the taking. They have reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup but one has to wonder how, given that they were similarly toothless. Some of the passion Egham had shown in, for instance, the recovery from 0-2 to 3-2 at home to Ware, or the grim determination in the six match run of scoring goals in the fag-end of games would almost certainly have been enough. This wasn’t; it was aimless, Combined Counties League stuff and a big improvement will be needed if the season is to end on any kind of high note.
Elliott Carey’s shot, deflected wide for and off a Pashaj corner, promised a more cohesive second half from the home side and some might have thought that Egham’s luck had changed when a long ball found Brendan Matthew, who raced into the box, fell over his feet and, to the surprise of everyone, found that a corner had been awarded. When it came in visiting keeper O’Neal Garnes fumbled the ball under no pressure but the referee saw a foul. The “cancelling out” of one bad call by another doesn’t happen, of course! After 54 minutes came the moment that separated the teams, Gs Chris Musgrove intercepting Reece Yorke’s header back to keeper Jamie Norris to put the ball in the Egham net. Carey was replaced by Ryan Phillips who immediately won a corner, which, like all but one of its predecessors, and all successors, went straight into the hands of the keeper. Jake Cass and Chris Moore replaced Kurtney Brooks and Matthew. Godalming’s next substitution saw Bassett back on Runnymede Stadium turf, but he barely saw the ball and was kept quiet. Egham finally had something to shout about, albeit in vain, when Moore was brought down in the box by Purdy. The referee thought otherwise and gave nothing. Louis Hutton forced Norris to save and, five minutes into injury time, Yorke, up from the back, and Garnes ran into each other. Garnes felt it more; Yorke was booked.
The trip to Ware is flanked by games against Fleet Town, Tuesday’s game the away trip. Fleet have not won at home in five games, having initially had a superb record at Calthorpe Park. Their away record is more up and down but features a 1-6 loss at Ware and winning 8-1 at Barton Rovers.
EGHAM TOWN: Jamie Norris, Elliott Carey, Mitchell Gutteridge, Reece Yorke, Luke Neville (captain), Kurtney Brooks, Callum Webb, Wes Daly, Ryan De Battista, Brendan Matthew, Bajram Pashaj. Substitutes: Ryan Phillips (Care, 57), Hassan Sulaiman, Jake Cass (Brooks, 62), Ollie Jones, Chris Moore (Matthew, 62).