Epsom: 2 (Midmer, B.Hildrey)
Epsom travelled to a wet and windy Down Grange to play Basingstoke on Saturday, both sides level on 10 points in second and third. Basingstoke started the game much stronger with Epsom looking like they were still somewhere on the M3. Basingstoke controlled early possession and opened the scoring on 10 minutes from a short-corner slap hit. Soon after a swift counter-attack made it 2-0 and then a turnover in the corner was clinically worked to make it 3-0 to the hosts after 15 minutes. Epsom finally woke up and a neat attack down the right broke to James Midmer who fired home a deflected reverse-stick shot for 3-1. The run-up to half-time was fairly even with Epsom clawing their way back into the tie but no further goals and the interval arrived at 3-1.
Following some strong words at the break Epsom came out much stronger in the second half and Ben Hildrey capped a strong 10 minute spell by firing home a short corner drag-flick for 3-2. Basingstoke suddenly started to look nervy but Epsom couldn’t capitalise further and the game then turned quite scrappy with both sides sharing a total of five green cards. With space opening up in the closing stages Basingstoke made it 4-2 with a well-worked move down the right. Epsom pushed hard but nothing much was happening for them up front and overworked ‘keeper Ed Burton-Brown eventually conceded a fifth on the break in the closing stages.
Basingstoke were much the better side throughout the game, combining sharper passing with a higher work-rate. Epsom will hope to improve ahead of a home tie with Wanderers at Epsom College on Saturday.