Purley Walcountians: 6
Epsom: 3 (Midmer, W.Hunt 2)
The Men’s 1s travelled to Purley having secured promotion and now needing a point to win the league. This is always a tough place to come and Epsom made it significantly tougher by going 3-0 down inside five minutes. Purley were intense, direct and creative from the start and Epsom were still on the A217. After two minutes Purley opened the scoring when a free hit was smashed in and neatly deflected home. Almost immediately another attack played in a forward who drifted right and fired in a shot which beat James Tuck at the near post. Straight away another attack seemed to end with an innocuous pass which Tuck let go, only for it hit the post and roll straight to a forward to make it 3-0 from close range. Epsom, to their credit, rolled up their sleeves at 3-0 down and finally started to string some play together. They grew into the game and created several chances before James Midmer crashed home an improvised short corner to make it 3-1. Soon after, Purley’s ‘keeper made a brilliant reaction save at a short corner to keep the gap and just before half-time Epsom had two short corners with all 10 outfield players up but Jack Marfleet’s close-range flick was blocked and Purley held out from the subsequent retake. 3-1 at half-time
Epsom started the second half with real intensity and were soon camped in the Purley half. Another short corner saw Marfleet slide in Will Hunt to deflect home for 3-2. Epsom almost immediately worked a fine chance but Midmer’s intended pass to Hunt was well-blocked by the keeper. Purley then crucially stopped the momentum with a well-executed short corner making it 4-2. Epsom kept coming and some great press work from Mike Atkinson played in Will Hunt who smashed home a brilliant rising shot for 4-3. Epsom had momentum but, again, Purley held out and another strong move then saw the hosts make it 5-3. The clock was now starting to become tougher for Epsom and Purley then ended the contest with a brilliant sixth on the break; a high forward brilliant pulling down an aerial over his shoulder, rounding Tuck and firing home. There were still around 10 minutes to go but Epsom were out of petrol and it all ended quite tamely at 6-3.
Purley fully deserved the win but Epsom were left to rue the fact that this game was somewhat thrown away in the first 5 minutes. Epsom still have a chance to win the league with either a win or draw against Bournemouth on Saturday but will have to find a different intensity, all support welcome.