All smiles at the Saffrons

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THREE wins on the bounce, 270 minutes without conceding a goal and the biggest gate of the season – no wonder the smiles have returned to the Saffrons with a vengeance.

Both these sides have had their mid-season problems and before the start were locked together in Ryman League Division One South. But a superbly taken goal in the 39th minute by Tim Rivers secured the points for Town and left them poised to enter the mid-table comfort zone.

With admission being free, it would be inaccurate to say the fans had value for money, but the 258 spectators were fortunate to see a competitive match for nothing, with both sides trying to play football on a uneven surface with the ball bobbling about erratically.

Town boss Danny Bloor was the first to admit that it had not been a pretty match. “This was all about getting three points and when you have gone 270 minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions, you have to be happy about that. I was particularly pleased with the superb way Steve Elliott led the side in the absence of Greg Manton,” he said.

The excellence of Ryan James was responsible for much of Town’s midfield dominance and it was James who provided the first gilt-edged chance for Evan Archibald, but his cross from the left spun off the striker’s boot.

Sam Crabb brought the best out of keeper Jamie Norris with a stunning drive and from the resultant corner Dean Brooks headed narrowly wide.

Archibald wasted another chance and Gabriel Odunaike drove wide at the other end before Town took the lead with half-time just six minutes away. A perfect ball from James allowed Rivers to break free and he coolly drove past the advancing keeper just inside the post.

Godalming looked more dangerous after the interval, but fine defensive work, with Brooks and Elliott outstanding, kept the always alert Kieron Thorp well protected. Town still had their moments with Crabb and Rivers testing the keeper with Rivers looking to be denied a penalty when he was upended in the area.

Rivers was left limping fom the incident and was finally replaced by Danny Simmons whose experience played a key part in guiding Town through a nervy last 10 minutes.

But with Bennett winning just about every aerial battle and James working hard to ease the pressure, a Godalming equaliser never really looked on the cards.

It was a pity that James spoilt a fine performance with a moment of ungentlemany conduct just before the end as he kicked the ball away to delay a free-kick.

He will now be out of action with a three-match ban after being sent off against Chipstead last week. Town can ill afford to be without one of their most influential players as they attempt to continue their march up the table.

TOWN: Thorp 7, Goldsmith 7, Kessack 7, Brooks 8,* Elliott 8, Patten 7, Farrell 6 (Cooper), Crabb 6, Archibald 5, Rivers 7 (Simmonds), James 8.Referee: Mr R. Ellis 6. ATT: 258

MoM: Dean Brooks - a rock at the back.

£500 raised for autism charity

DURING the game more than £500 was raised for CT4Autism with whom Town FC are working to provide a better future for autistic children.