Late Branford stunner averts what would have been a ‘travesty’ defeat at Godalming

Horsham FC. George Branford. Pic Steve Robards SR1626346 SUS-160913-134052001
Horsham FC. George Branford. Pic Steve Robards SR1626346 SUS-160913-134052001

Substitute George Branford’s late free-kick saw Horsham clinch victory as justice was done and a ‘travesty’ avoided against basement boys Godalming Town on Bank Holiday Monday.

The midfielder’s 35-yard effort sailed home to give the Hornets all three points with the last kick of the game.

That came after Darren Boswell’s screaming strike had given the visitors the lead on the stroke of half-time after Scott Kirkwood had missed a penalty.

Town’s Chris Musgrove equalised on the hour mark, before Horsham were denied a second penalty when Alfie Rogers went down in the box and Charlie Farmer’s goal was then controversially ruled out for offside.

A draw would have left a bitter taste for the Hornets, but thankfully Branford had come off the bench and his powerful, curling and bouncing effort found the bottom corner.

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola said: “I think if we had not won, it would have been a travesty, no-one could argue that we deserved the win. It takes us past the 60-point mark and that was a target we set around the Christmas period, so that’s positive.

“I think it is massively obvious that as the season has progressed, and I know I have said it before, but not having a goalscorer has not helped us.

“For the last 15 minutes we had to put Charlie Farmer up front. It should have been six or seven in the end, we missed a penalty, should have had another penalty, had a goal disallowed and we missed two open goals.

“We just haven’t got anyone with the selfish goalscoring streak, we have lots of creative players that would rather pass than put the ball in the net.”

In normal tradition, a healthy contingent of Horsham supporters attended the final away game of the season in fancy dress; this year in golfing attire - a fitting nod to their new permanent home on Horsham Golf & Fitness land.

In a tame first half, James Thurgar was fouled in the box by Chris Wales, but Kirkwood’s resulting spot kick flew over the bar.

Boswell, however, was to make his mark as he brought down a long ball and from an acute angle, hit a half volley into the top corner of the net.

In the second half, Musgrove headed a good chance wide, before Lewis Hyde’s headed clearance fell to Garstang and volleyed in the bottom corner to level.

Rogers was then shoved over in the box by Steve Brown with no penalty given, before Steve Metcalf squared the ball in the box and it deflected to Farmer, who tucked home, only for a bizarre offside decision to be made. But Horsham were to prevail, with justice served through Branford’s late stunner.

Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Jones, Hyde, Duncan, Thurgar, Kirkwood (Branford 75), Harris, Boswell, Rogers (Hunt 63), Lawley (Farmer 75). Unused: Smith, McCarthy.