My Grounds

Monday, 4 December 2017

Godalming Town - Wey Court

Godalming Town FC
Wey Court

Ground: 28
Date: 28th October 2017
Godalming Town 1-2 Chertsey Town
Combined Counties League Premier Division

Godalming Town FC - History

Godalming Town were founded in 1950 as Godalming United, changing name to Godalming & Farncombe in 1970 before changing name to Godalming Town in 1980, a year after entering the Combined Counties League. In 1984, Godalming won the league title for the first time, before changing name once again to Godalming & Guildford in 1992.

In 2005, the club reverted to the current name of Godalming Town, winning the Combined Counties League a year later to earn promotion to Division 1 South of the Isthmian League. They finished bottom of this league in their first season, but were reprieved and then transferred to Division 1 South & West of the Southern League, moving back to the Isthmian League again after one season.

In the 2009/10 season, the club finished fourth and entered the play-offs, beating Worthing 2-1 in the semi-finals before losing 2-1 to Folkestone Invicta in the final. Godalming reached the play-offs again the following season, but this time lost in the semi-finals on penalties to Bognor Regis Town after a 4-4 draw. The 2011/12 season saw the club transferred to Division 1 Central of the Southern League, finishing in 3rd and once again competing in the play-offs, but lost 2-1 in the semi-finals to Biggleswade Town.

The next few seasons saw the club transferred between the two Division 1s of the Southern League and Division 1 South of the Isthmian League, eventually culminating in relegation from the latter division at the end of last season. So far, the club are not faring especially well in the Combined Counties League Premier Division, struggling at the bottom and fighting to avoid a second consecutive relegation.

In the FA Cup, the club's best run came in the 2011/12 season when they reached the 4th Qualifying Round, beating Wimborne Town, Moneyfields, Worcester City and Bodmin Town before losing 5-0 at home to Maidenhead United. In the FA Trophy, the club progressed as far as the 3rd Qualifying Round in the 2009/10 season, beating VTFC (now known as Sholing FC), Cirencester Town and Banbury United before losing 3-0 at home to Arlesey Town. As for the FA Vase, the club have progressed as far as the 2nd Round on three occasions, most recently in the 1995/96 season when they beat Three Bridges and Stamco before losing 5-2 at home to Mangotsfield United.

My Visit

Compared to some of my other groundhops while at University, I have little in particular to say about this one, other than that I felt like doing a short and simple journey after the chaos and excitement of Tuesday night at Arsenal; with Godalming being just five minutes on the train (to Farncombe station, which happens to be much closer to the ground than Godalming station), this game fit that bill nicely.

Going into a groundhop, I usually like to do a decent amount of research, at the very least looking at where both teams are in the league, as well as looking at their recent form. In this instance, I wasn't quite as thorough as, while I knew Godalming were struggling near the bottom and had just appointed new joint-managers, I had no idea about how Chertsey were doing: when I had a look at the league table in the programme once I got home, I wasn't surprised to see that Cherstey were also near the bottom of the division.

In any event, I got to the ground with ample time before kick-off, and first grabbed a programme and pennant from the club shop by the turnstiles (I wanted a pin badge, but seeing as they had run out, I decided that a pennant was the next best thing) before grabbing a mediocre hot dog from the tea bar. I then started taking photos, doing my circuit while I waited for the team sheets to be written up; even after finishing my circuit, I had to wait until about five to ten minutes before kick-off until the man was finished writing.

Here's my report on a game that, as I would've expected had I looked properly at the league table, had its moments but was ultimately low on quality, with Godalming made to rue a series of missed chances in the first half: 

With this being the first game in charge for the new management team of Godalming, I was expecting some of the new manager effect to apply here and, in the first half at least, that certainly seemed to be the case. As that suggests, Godalming started much the stronger, quickly creating a stream of chances and generally playing with a lot of positivity, much more than what you would expect from a team struggling at the bottom of the league for the second season running (having been relegated from Step 4 last season). As such, it was not much of a surprise at all when Gurken Gokman gave Godalming the lead on 16 minutes, an excellent curved finish from 20 yards going straight into the top corner; even as tall as Chertsey's goalkeeper Tom Bryant was, there was no chance of him reaching that particular effort. The rest of the first half largely proceeded in the same fashion, Godalming attacking and largely keeping Chertsey pinned in, with Chertsey occasionally breaking forwards and creating a chance of their own. In this period of Godalming domination, they missed numerous good chances, including two open goals and a one-on-one; really, they should have been 4-0 up after about 35 minutes, but instead their lead stayed at 1 goal. With things proceeding like this, I had a strong feeling that Godalming would soon be made to rue all these missed chances (there were many more than just the three mentioned), and so it proved when Chertsey equalised with virtually the last kick of the first half: a ball into the box led to a shot from Joe Jones, which was parried by Godalming goalkeeper Dimitri Kyriatkz into the path of Ben Geraghty, who duly converted from about three yards out.

While the first half had been an entertaining affair, the second half was nothing short of abysmal, with both teams seeming to forget how to attack and shoot for much of the half; for most of the half, Godalming got close to the Chertsey box but either lacked a good final ball or just took too long to make a decision, while Chertsey seemed to be perpetually offside whenever they attacked. In fact, I don't seem to recall any shots on goal until about the 70th minute, and even that was a tame effort from 30 yards that Tom Bryant in the Chertsey goal always had under control. Such was how the second half progressed - with some degree of frustration on both sides leading to a few rough tackles flying in - before some late drama brought the game to life again: Chertsey were awarded a penalty on 87 minutes after Dimitri Kyriatkz brought down a Chertsey player in the block after being placed under pressure by a poor backpass. Bukele Mukudi converted the penalty for Chertsey to give them the lead with a few minutes to go, and this sparked some desperate but - as had been the case the entire second half - toothless efforts from Godalming to try and at least get a point out of the game. However, Chertsey comfortably held on to claim a win that, in all honesty, was probably undeserved; the fair result would have been a draw, but unfortunately luck just wasn't with Godalming today. Still, it doesn't look entirely doom and gloom for them in terms of their fight to avoid a second consecutive relegation.

The Ground

Wey Court is a good ground for Step 5, with lots of evidence of the club's recent stint at Step 4. The main stand - purchased from Addlestone & Weybridge's ground when they folded in 1985 - is an unusual structure, but one that I very much liked: the stand consists mostly of benches for its seating capacity of 200, although there is a walled-off area in the back corner for league and club officials which has proper seats (which were red, which was kind of jarring with everything else at the ground being green).

Behind the near goal is a strange area of covered standing: situated directly behind the goal and far back from the pitch, the view isn't particularly great, but it adds a bit of character to the ground and provides covered standing for around 100, if necessary. Next to this are a couple of benches, which look as if they are on top of some long-overgrown steps of terracing (or the base of a stand or other area of cover). Other than this, the only area of cover at the ground is a covered terrace behind the far goal: this seems to be much newer than the rest of the ground - it was probably added to appease the ground graders while at Step 4 - and could probably provide cover for at most 200 people, if necessary.

The rest of the ground is open hard standing, with the only other notable feature being something reminiscent of a media gantry between the dugouts, although when this would ever have been used I have no idea. The ground has an overall capacity of 3,000, with the record attendance being 1,305 for a league game against AFC Wimbledon in 2002.


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