So the game started well with Epsom well in the ascendancy, our halves had a fantastic game, control the middle and showing what I must say is superb awareness of where there colleagues are. Their one touch passing completely dominated and confused the oppositions half backs. Oli, Chris and Grant – fantastic, Pikey – keep trying you’re getting there.
After 5 mins we won a short corner, there was a period of confusion while they realised the star short corner striker was not on the field of play. Fortunately Carlos stepped up to the plate, Darron whizzed the ball out, Carlos took it wide and whack! 1-0.
5 mins later.. Rinse and Repeat – 2-0.
We then entered a bit of the twilight zone. Leatherhead have a rather robust and skilful centre forward. We know him, he’s not that quick but he can certainly hit them hard and accurately. SO obviously we marked him – very tightly – not. This guy had so much room he set up a deck chair and umbrella to relax in while he waited for a pass. So many times he was left alone – despite the supporters and the subs informing the defence gently that he was free and currently ordering a second gin and tonic. This led to several strikes on goal which Adam saved well. I would also say the often it was Caggers who tried to cover the Centre Forward while the Marquis enquired if he wanted ice with that.
Anyway somehow we managed to survive until half time. A few words were mentioned about the usually reliable defence being not so reliable. Jelly babies eaten we resumed. During an early attack Aa defender stopped the ball with his foot and a P-flick was awarded. Up strode Captain Carlos to take the flick only to be pushed away by Darron with the immortal words, “ sod off, you’ve got 2 it’s my turn”. As Darron set himself up, the umpires conferred and decided that in fact the ball was not goal bound so changed the call to a short corner. Personally I think Darron should be praised for being willing to put himself forward but also relieved that he didn’t have to take it!
The short was taken and was converted by Carlos to make is 3 -0 we were cruising, we subbed Caggers off ….. and then leatherhead woke up. They started passing to each other, taking out of play our midfield which led to Chris White being sent off. A ball was flicked over his head, Chris called and put his stick straight above his head and controlled it beautifully. Unfortunately if he hadn’t Leatherhead would probably have been through on gaol so the umpire rightly decided it was a deliberate foul stopping a goal scoring opportunity. A 5 minute rest for Chris during which he had the rules explained to him. It is perhaps a mark of how well he played when he was on the pitch that he didn’t get one vote for TFC.
While we were down to 10 men, Leatherhead scored a great goal which to be honest we should have picked up but with Chris Missing we were one short in the defensive perimeter which allowed leatherhead to thread a great ball in. Unfortunately 2 minutes later we let another one in – very poor marking, a goal mouth scramble – two or three missed clearances and without Caggers on the post their left wing managed to stick it in. 3-2 and leatherhead really had their tails up.
Chris White then re-joined and we quickly reasserted our dominance – resulting in a classic Grant far post goal. 4-2. Then one of Leatherheads halves had a bit of a monk on and got sent off for bad language. Epsom were not able to capitalise on this despite another good opportunity for Grant where he just missed another Grant Classic.
We were holding on , when Leatherhead were back up to strength they quickly scored a 3rd making it 4-3. The player who got sent off was very lucky not get permanently binned when he started arguing again. Fortunately one of the senior players calmed him down and we were able to continue with 22 players.
There now remained 5 minutes in which to sort this out. The next goal would be so important. During an Epsom attack Pikey was seen to be holding back, asked if he was injured the reply was a short, “no”. Leaving him be we managed to see out the last few minutes without any further dramas. Pikey’s behaviour was later explained when he expressed relief that we had drawn the game, and that was why he was hanging back to support our flaky defence. Fair point.
Good game guys and well played