Nev Nania says Godmanchester Rovers have to bounce back quicky after opening day defeat
- Credit: Archant
NEV Nania cut a disappointed figure as he chatted to the injured captain Chris Hyem when they crossed the pitch to the changing rooms following Godmanchester Rovers’ first game of the new season – a 2-0 defeat at home to Walsham-le-Willows.
Nania has talked up his team’s chances this season in the Premier Division of the Eastern Counties League, but 90 minutes into the campaign the joint manager was forced to concede that Goddy weren’t good enough against their visitors from Suffolk to finish with anything else but a loss.
“For what we want to do this year that isn’t good enough. Even with the players we had missing, that’s not good enough,” he said.
“It’s easy to talk about players who were missing – no John Turner, no Chris Hyem, no Adam King and no Jamie Blackwell, no Rob Mackney in goal – but with the team we had out today I would have expected us to get three points. But we didn’t.
“Whether that was down to a bit of complacency, I don’t know. But we have to bounce back quickly because we have got Mildenhall on Tuesday [last night].”
Nania and his co-manager David Hurst chose to play 3-5-2 against a Walsham side also expected to challenge for the title this time around – so it was never going to be a breeze of an opening day fixture. But without last season’s key strikers Paul Bass (not fit) and James Hall (who has joined Soham Town Rangers), Goddy struggled to break through up front with Russell Bull and Callum Bowthorpe falling short when it mattered.
It was the Walsham attack which looked the livelier with Ollie Hughes forcing Carl Mackney in the Goddy goal to parry one shot before heading home the opener in the 17th minute.
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Stephen Hurst, playing on the right hand side of the five-man midfield, smashed a self-made chance over crossbar in the 20th minute, but had to leave the pitch shortly after following a dramatic fall on his coccyx.
Andrew Cussack went close for Walsham and Goddy’s Mark E’Beyer volleyed a chance into the Walsham goalkeeper’s hands with Joe Furness volleying a shot wide and Hurst’s replacement, Callum Forster, also going close before the end of the half.
Goddy certainly looked better in the second half with E’Beyer again going close and the home side’s best chance, from a Furness free-kick which was headed back across the line by Charlie Bowen, cleared in the 60th minute. It was moments after Bull had looped a ball high only for it to be stopped on the line by the goalkeeper that Walsham got their second goal. Tom Moran was beaten by Andy Wood who tried his luck from 18 yards and the player struck the ball sweetly to beat Mackney with a fizzing shot.
It could have been worse: Waltham’s Hughes hit the crossbar late on with Mackney again beaten.
Nania said: “The first half wasn’t good enough – although we had the desire we didn’t have the will to win, they had the desire and the intention.
“In the second half we changed to 4-4-2 and it looked a lot better – in fact, we should have probably equalised two or three times.
“We should have probably scored and obviously then 10 or 15 minutes from the end Tom Moran got rolled and the lad buried it.”
Godmanchester (3-5-2): Carl Mackney, Stephen Hurst (Callum Forster), Jon Hall, Nicky Hurst, Tom Moran, Charlie Bowen, Jack Watson, Mark E’Beyer, Callum Gawthorpe (George Darling), Russell Bull, Joe Furness (Carl Foreman).