Saturday 22 September 2018 – Old Schools’ Lane, Ewell
Epsom: 2 (Midmer 2)
Blackheath and Elthemians: 4
Epsom’s finished their pre-season campaign with a 4-2 loss to Blackheath, who provided a stern test having finished fourth in South Premier 2 last year.
This was Epsom’s first match on the new Old Schools’ Lane pitch and they started really strongly, dominating possession in the driving rain. Blackheath’s defence was hard to break down but after 10 minutes Steve Turnbull intercepted a loose clearance and found James Midmer at the far post who chipped home. Soon after, a flowing move played in Paul Atkinson whose instinctive shot drew a great save from Blackheath’s keeper. Epsom kept coming and another decent move enabled Midmer to convert from close range for 2-0. Blackheath struck back almost immediately with some sharp skills causing mayhem and seeing a loose ball diverted past Ed Burton-Brown. Blackheath’s skilful midfield unit then firmly came into the game. Burton-Brown was forced into action a number of times, and eventually the visitors equalized through a fierce strike to make it 2-2 at half-time.
Blackheath retained the momentum early in the second half and made it 3-2 with a fast counter-attack and slick finish. Blackheath were on top for a spell but Epsom’s defence, led by Alex Bond and Brett Hosken, held out bravely. Epsom then rallied and, whilst never recapturing their early form, did force a number of chances for the equalizer. Sadly they couldn’t take them, and in the closing stages Blackheath won a short-corner and top-scorer Chris Harden converted a fierce dragflick. The match ended 4-2 but it was no shame for Epsom to lose to such a strong side. They start their league campaign at home to Oxted 3s next Saturday at 2:30, all support very welcome.