Godalming Town win on penalties to regain Bill Kyte Trophy

By The Editor

29th Aug 2020 | Local Sport

Godalming Town players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout.
Godalming Town players celebrate after winning the penalty shootout.

A nail-biting penalty shootout saw Godalming Town regain the Bill Kyte Trophy this afternoon, after a tense game ended in a 1-1 draw.

The squad regained the silverware from rivals Guildford Town after running out 4-1 winners in the shootout.

A 20th-minute goal from James Robertson put the Gs ahead, but Guildford equalised in the second half. With honours even at the end of the game, a penalty shootout was the inevitable result, with the Gs netting five against Guildford's two.

Keeper Adrian Giles prove the shootout hero, saving two shots and thereby delivering the trophy into a delighted Godalming's hands. The green and yellow ribbons were duly attached to the silverware, giving Phil Ruggles's newly-formed squad a reason to celebrate even before the season proper kicks off. The trophy is named after former club president Bill Kyte, club president for 50 years until his death three years ago at the age of 96. "Bill was Mr Godalmng Town. He was Godalming through and through," current president David Allen told Nub News just before kick-off. Mr Kyte, a successful local builder, was the driving force behind much of the present-day setup at the Gs: from overseeing the laying of the pitch to the building of the stand, he was instrumental in creating the infrastructure supporters see today. This pre-season derby has been a fixture at the club for years, but last year, following Mr Kyte's death, the silverware was renamed in his honour. Mr Allen says Mr Kyte was a regular fixture at the club for 50 years."He was here at 7.30 every morning, said Mr Allen. "This was his life." "His expertise built all this," he added indicating the pitch, the rails, and the stand, filling up with - socially distanced - supporters eager for the kickoff. "His funeral was even held on the pitch: 300 people attended." The game was a sellout under FA rules that this weekend allowed teams at level three and below to admit 15% of their ground capacity: the maths that meant 150 supporters could watch the game. "About 60-40% in our favour," reckoned Glenn Lye, the club's commercial director. The loosening of the rules has come as a relief to a club that has been champing at the bit to start the new season. The rules change again on Monday, to allow a greater percentage of spectators, not in time for this big game, but David is sanguine about that.

With a new manager and a fresh squad, he says, the club is looking to improve on an indifferent last season.

This is very much a community club: staff run activities throughout Godalming Town Council's annual Staycation festival, have earned the support of local businesses who have stepped forward to sponsor the club and individual players, and have a close and mutually beneficial relationship with Farncombe Youth FC just up the road. Indeed two of today's squad came through Farncombe Youth to make the starting lineup for today's big game.

"One of them said to me 'I always wanted to play for Godalming Town FC,' recounts David."And he's playing today. That makes it all worthwhile."

Godalming start the season with a trip to Tooting Bec next Saturday.

Their first home game of the season will be against Chessington and Hook the following Saturday.


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