For once the omens seemed auspicious. The Gondoliers could even afford to lend Gould to Winchester and still field 13 players...
Gondoliers 4 (Kuhle, Sturgess (2), Tonks) Winchester 2
From the start we surged forward in waves, which naturally resulted in a Winchester breakaway goal in their first real attack! Possibly less auspicious.
Meanwhile Gould was determined to make amends for all his misses of the previous week by raising his game now he was playing against all those who had criticised him against Havant. However, with our midfield dynamos of Kefford, Mullins, Penney and Kuhle asserting themselves we gained a series of penalty corners which resulted first in Mullins' bouncing the ball off the top of the bar and later in the ball being slipped right to Kuhle who smashed it into the net.
One all at the end of the first quarter. The team talk focused on quick, short accurate passes, which was perfectly executed by playing quick, short, accurate passes straight to the opposition. Kuhle then promptly decided that his work for the day was done and that he could use a torn hamstring as an excuse to limp off the pitch. Fortunately some timely tackles by Basey, Asdell and Mowatt combined with some fine saves by Baker prevented Winchester from capitalising on their possession. This inspired Howells and Sturgess into the play of the match, a string of one-twos which culminated in Sturgess tapping the ball into an open goal. 2 - 1 at half-time.
The second half started with Winchester scoring from a short corner and with Howells also limping off the pitch with a torn hamstring. However, Kefford drilled a short corner straight at Sturgess who deflected it into the net to give us the lead. Then yet another injury resulted in Haley limping off and Howells nobly returning to play a somewhat static role as centre forward. The pressure was on Guildford again, but with Mowatt perfecting his sliding tackles (he spent more time on his backside than on his feet), Basey as reliable as ever, Asdell rejuvenated after a two minute rest on the sideline after a disagreement with the umpire and Baker dominant in the D, our defence held firm.
Meanwhile Penney, Kefford, Mullins and Sturgess worked tirelessly both to contest the midfield and to set up our attacks. One of these resulted in two Winchester players colliding in their D leaving the ball to Carney who selflessly slipped it diagonally back for Tonks to shell it into the net. A good, hard game expertly umpired by HP, with the advantage that Haley, Howells and Kuhle have three weeks for their injuries to heal and Mowatt has one week to write to Santa and ask for a pair of shoes which have some grip!
Many Thanks to our sole match supporter David Stokes, who still remains in shock having witnessed that rare event, a Geoff Tonks goal.
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers
Our next game is Jan 6th at Horsham.