Sanderstead Saturday Shocker
The meet time was 11:15, Williamson had arrived at the club early (almost as excited as Andrew “Gangnam” McNamee – see Facebook video) about playing the side bottom of the table. Savage was residing in the club and upon uttering the question, “how are you?” Williamson realised his mistake – the reply was, “grumpy and hungover” which may have later explained his undeniable urge to “log” or in layman terms (lie down) should the slightest opportunity present itself!!! More on that later….
After sending on the scouting party (the players that had arrived on time) Cheyne and Williamson awaited the arrival of young “couple” Hugo and Wong. They, like Savage had also been setting the town alight with their drinking prowess the evening before. 15mins late the official timing device read. What would Peacock say? “Dice” I believe? Jonny (2 pints) may have served his sentence but what will Myron’s be? Maybe a shower at the end of the season?!?
Having made good time and arrived at the Selsdon Park Hotel and blagged our way onto the Middlesborough FC Team Coach before the game it was time to “switch on” and get warm in readiness to give the bottom club a bashing!
The team warmed up well, despite some feeling a little jaded from their Friday evening exertions and; this was evidenced with a good start and some early pressure on the home sides’ defence which they doggedly withstood. Part of the reason they were able to do this was due to some poor first touches from the forwards, McNamee, Williamson and Wong. Hugo, Sydenham and Smith must have been frustrated by this as all were distributing well.
After this initially good passage of play Epsom dug themselves a hole. A fairly innocuous ball was easily dealt with by Lelliard until he inexplicably gave a poor pass right to a marked Fletcher who was defenceless for the interception that proceeded and four passes later Epsom found themselves 1-0 down where it remained at half time.
This scoreline did not please anyone in the Epsom ranks and cracks began to show despite the initial goal coming against the run of play. Harris’s team talk roused his team for a short spell as Smith levelled to make it 1-1. However, the poor first touch from the forwards had infected the backs and midfield in equal measure and this further buoyed the home side. Cheyne seemingly finding the hockey ball 1000 times heavier than it actually was and unable to produce an aerial that would have cleared a shoe, let alone a shoulder!
Sanderstead were sniffing their first victory of the season and were inspired. Home side pressure shortly after the equaliser led to a second for the home side and Espom looked vulnerable. This vulnerability become ever more apparent when Savage’s desire to lay down (whilst running at full tilt towards Lelliard ably shepherding a Sanderstead forward around the D) was stunningly apparent. The resultant collision saw Lelliard given a yellow card (surely taken for Savage?) and correctly a penalty flick was awarded (well done ump). The Sanderstead forward clinically finished and the home side could see the victory come into view at 3-1. Epsom were in a very big hole!
It was at this point that Epsom finally realised that there was a game of hockey going on and that if they didn’t do something quickly they were to be embarrassed by the bottom side. There were 8 minutes remaining when Epsom finally converted a short corner through Williamson’s straight strike, low and right.
At 3-2 down, could Epsom get out of the hole they were stuck in? The short answer was “Yes!” and this is how…..
…..With 15 seconds remaining and victory in sight Sanderstead were undeniably frustrated to concede a short corner inside the 23m. After some deliberation by Epsom about what to do, and with 10 players surrounding the D, No.1 was called. The ball was injected well by Smith, it wasn’t stopped cleanly by Sydenham and the only option left for Williamson (everyone else was on the pads/close in as planned) was the slip right to Hugo. He controlled and concentrated on smashing the ball as hard as he could resulting in….nigh-on hero status levelling things up at 3-3.
Epsom must improve from a bottom side blunder that could have left Sanderstead singing but Hugo’s final strike left the backboard ringing.