Saturday 19 January – Old Schools Lane – Ewell
Epsom: 2 (Midmer, J.Hunt)
Fareham 2s: 5
A jaded-looking Epsom were well-beaten 5-2 by Fareham 2s to continue a topsy-turvy sequence of results. Fareham’s strong, young side took control of possession early at Old Schools Lane and Epsom were forced to play on the counterattack. The deadlock was broken on 15 minutes when Fareham seized on a loose pass and worked in their centre-forward who unleashed an unstoppable reverse-stick drive past James Tuck. This sparked a brief scoring spree; first Epsom equalized when Jack Marfleet’s free-hit was neatly deflected home by James Midmer for 1-1. Fareham then scored again when a cavernous hole appeared in Epsom’s midfield allowing an 80 yard pass to find two high strikers; Tuck heroically kept the attack at bay but a rebound fell kindly for 2-1. Epsom equalized again when a short-corner routine was neatly converted by James Hunt. The score was 2-2 at half-time – not a lost cause by any stretch for Epsom, despite a fairly tough afternoon so far. They were hoping for better in the second half…
Fareham had other ideas however, starting the second half really well and scoring two more well-worked goals. At 4-2 down Epsom finally strung some passes together creating several chances and a seemingly endless stream of short corners. Marfleet, Sean Hebden and Will Hunt all went agonizingly close and Fareham bravely saved or blocked out several chances. Having weathered the storm Fareham then scored a fifth against the run of play to effectively end the tie with 8 minutes remaining. The final stages saw further Epsom chances for a consolation but they were ultimately well-beaten by a good side. Epsom looked shakier at the back then normal and did not convert nearly enough of their chances. Results elsewhere went their way but they will have to improve out of sight to take on a strong Barnes side away from home next week.