Epsom: 7 (Midmer 2, Marfleet 2, J.Hunt, White, W.Hunt)
Croydon & Old Whitgiftians: 2
Surrey / Hampshire League Round 15
Seventh-placed Epsom returned to sunny Notre Dame school after a spell on the road, hosting a dangerous Croydon & Old Whitgiftians side who sat fourth and whose top scorer Dominic Coe had already amassed 35 goals, more than many Epsom players have scored since the turn of the century.
Attack was definitely the best form of defence and Epsom started strongly with James Midmer deflecting home an early short-corner for 1-0. Croydon thought they had equalized via a fine solo finish from Coe but it was rightly ruled out for a foot in the build-up. Some lively play from Epsom then won another short corner and Christmas transfer-window signing Jack Marfleet drilled home a low dragflick for 2-0. Croydon then had a strong spell and won two short corners. Paul Atkinson looked generally delighted to be stationed in Coe’s favoured area on the left post but Epsom just about survived. Just before half-time Epsom forced a defensive turnover and a slickly transitioned attack played in marauding right-back James Hunt to deflect home for 3-0.
Moments after the restart Epsom forced another turnover enabling attacking dynamo Will Hunt to drive in and cut back to Midmer who slotted home for 4-0. Croydon almost immediately won a short corner and this time Coe converted for 4-1. With a flicker of this calibre on the field no lead was safe, so Epsom piled forward again; Marfleet scored a fine second goal for 5-1, drifting wide right in the circle, rounding the keeper and crashing home on the reverse. Soon after, Epsom won another short-corner and Liam White fired home a dragflick for 6-1. This would be an unassailable lead for any other side in world hockey, but bitter experience meant coach Johnny Oliver was still nervous on the sidelines. He had every right to be as Croydon soon won another short-corner and this time Coe fire an unstoppable flick into the top left for 6-2. Croydon then had another short corner ruled out, before losing Coe to two yellow cards in the final 10 minutes, allowing Epsom to finally take the sting out of the game. A flowing move in the closing stages saw Marfleet play in Will Hunt who flicked home for 7-2 to complete a solid day at the office for Epsom against dangerous opponents. They next week travel for a tough game away at Fareham 2s.