U18s are League Cup Winners!

U18 League Champions

U18s are League Cup Winners as they beat Godalming Town 3-0

With no competitive action for almost two months, the U18 Casuals Juniors had to dig deep to reward their supporters in this hard-fought final. Godalming Town were no strangers to the Hub and had taken the Juniors to the wire, earlier in the season, when they had played a thrilling League encounter that ended 3-2 to the Casuals. They arrived at the ground fully intending to reverse that disappointment.

The majority of the crowd that came to watch were Casuals biased, but Godalming too were well supported and a healthy crowd assembled in anticipation of another classic encounter.

Unfortunately the game never rose to the levels of skill and excitement of the previous meeting and, perhaps reflecting the weather, turned into a damp, grey affair illuminated every now and again by a precious ray of invention.

After a typically mazy run, Calogero Scannella was taken down from behind by a Godalming player who was booked. Calogero disappointed with the free-kick, but shortly after had the chance to make amends with a corner from the right. He whipped the ball ferociously towards goal. The goalkeeper was caught unawares and although a defender tried to clear, he just helped the ball continue its journey into the back of the net.

The half continued with both teams nullifying each other in midfield, where Bailey Tanner, Aaron Ajayi and Ben Madelin, ably assisted by the full-backs Sam Moaveni and Daniel Horner (capt.) worked like Trojans. Sam unfortunately was injured and replaced by Nathan Jac-During, who carried on the good work.

The whistle blew and whereas the Casuals went back to the changing rooms, the Godalming Town players were told to stay on the pitch.

In the changing room the Juniors were given a stern team talk from their manager Mark Harewood, with comments from assistant coach Andy Horner…and then were surprised to see Senior Team manager, Anthony Gale, enter and address some technical points he felt needed attention. The Juniors, buoyed by the appearance of Anthony, and with the words of Mark and Andy ringing in their heads left the half-time break with a different attitude and a determination to NOT lose their winning position.

The second-half started in the same vein as the first. Dour and predictable the boys battled each other with Godalming pressing hard to bring the scores level. During this period Lucas Dehaan and Finlay McGlennan, at the heart of the Walton defence, were outstanding. But with such incredible pressure being applied, one chance slipped through and it was then that Ellis Wisdom made a ‘man-of-the match’ winning save. Inspired by their goalkeeper’s perfect performance the Juniors took heart and when McGlennan found Walton centre-forward, Andrew Hallam, with a perfectly weighted long pass, Hallam outpaced his marker, opened up his body and beat the Godalming keeper with a superbly placed low shot into the far corner. It was now 2-0 but Godalming would not give up the fight. Mark decided to bolster his midfield and took off the now tiring Madelin and replaced him with the technically gifted Jake Finnan.

Scannella, carrying an injury from the first-half, once more tried to elevate proceedings but again was scythed down, which resulted in another booking and a free-kick. This time Scannella declined to take the kick and handed over to Manfred Gaisie, who lit up the stadium with a cracking effort that left even the Godalming right-back open-mouthed, and applauding!

3-0 but Godalming, making their fans and manager proud, still carried the fight. Mark, to counter, replaced Scannella with the bustling Harry Boxall. Soon after Mark also took off the titanic Tanner, and introduced the outrageous skills of Tarun Bath. These final changes seemed to quell Godalming’s fire and the game ended with Walton on the charge.

It was a fine win and the Walton boys now have the Surrey Cup Final to look forward to, and a chance to win their League too. These boys have made the whole Club proud with their efforts this season (and in the past), and it is with great joy that we are able to offer them the chance of continued association with our Club in the U23s this September…where Mark Harewood will greet them as manager.