Epsom: 2 (Midmer, M.Atkinson)
Purley Walcountians: 3
Epsom saw their lead at the top of Surrey / Hampshire League 1 cut to two points after a 3-2 defeat against second-placed Purley Walcountians side at Old Schools Lane.
The match started cagily with both sides sharing possession without committing too many resources forward. It then fizzed into life as a sweeping Epsom counterattack saw James Harris, Will Hunt and Jack Marfleet combine to roll in James Midmer to make it 1-0. Purley equalized almost straight away with an attack down the right seeing a crash ball deflected in through a ruck of players for 1-1. Purley then took a 2-1 lead when Epsom surrendered possession in midfield and the resulting counterattack saw a reverse stick shot loop over Ed Burton Brown. Epsom responded by winning a short corner which was neatly finished off by the returning Mike Atkinson for 2-2. Epsom then surrendered possession again in almost exactly the same spot, with a similar result; Purley scoring a clinical counterattack making it 3-2 at half time.
Epsom emerged strongly in the second half and were soon applying good attacking pressure. Purley’s ‘keeper made a strong 1v1 save from James Hunt, some more sharp stops from open play, and then saved a penalty stroke from Jack Marfleet. Epsom kept going with some neat attacks and won three penalty corners as time ticked on but they just couldn’t find a way through the Purley rearguard. Purley also had several chances and short corners as Epsom threw numbers forward. Right on full time a strong run from Nico Orr saw the left back crash in a shot but it was again well-saved and Epsom were left with a first league defeat of the season. Despite the result, the side played well, created a lot of chances and it was no shame to lose to a tough, clinical Purley side. Epsom finish their first half campaign with a tough trip to Bournemouth and will be hoping to improve for what is now a vital game.