Saturday 21 March
Epsom: 4 (Culff, Barton 2, P.Atkinson)
Epsom recorded a clinical 4-0 win away at table-topping Winchester on Saturday. Winchester started strongly but Epsom scored after 10 minutes when Scott Barton’s quick thinking free-hit found Alex Culff who swept home. Barton soon doubled the lead by firing home a short corner rebound for 2-0. From this point on Epsom looked in their element playing on the break; sitting tight and creating a number of chances with incisive counterattacks. Early in the second half a sweeping move down the right saw Paul Atkinson volley home a cross for 3-0. Soon after, Mike Atkinson sped clean through on the break and was taken out for an obvious penalty stroke, converted by Barton for 4-0. Winchester threw numbers forward in the closing stages but Ed Burton-Brown looked in no mood to be beaten at a number of short corners. Epsom had some good chances near the end but were more than happy with what was already a good win.
Winchester are a very strong side who had won the league the week before and this definitely seemed a good time to play them. But Epsom could still be very proud of this effort, which marked the culmination of a good run of form.
Sunday 22 March
Chichester 2s: 6
Epsom: 5 (McNamee, Midmer 3, R.Sydenham)
Sunday saw a slightly depleted Epsom travel to face Chichester 2s in a rearranged fixture from earlier in the year. Chichester’s side also looked somewhat thrown together and the result was an entertaining end-to-end game. Chichester took an early 1-0 lead from a short corner, but Epsom struck back when Andy McNamee fired home a sharp reverse-stick shot from the top for 1-1. Chichester then seized control of the first half, scoring a brilliant second from a diving deflection, and then going 3-1 up from a penalty stroke. Epsom fought back and Alex Pizzey jinked through to set up James Midmer to cut the deficit to 3-2 just before half-time.
Epsom came out firing in the second half, enjoying a bright 15 minute spell during which debutant Rob Sydenham slammed home a loose ball to make it 3-3. Chichester then made it 4-3 from a short corner, before Mike Atkinson’s cross-field pass played in Midmer to crash home from the top for 4-4. It stayed 4-4 for some time with Epsom having a few chances, but in the last 10 a tiring Epsom conceded another penalty stroke for 5-4 and then a counterattack for 6-4. Epsom still battled on, Midmer jinked through the circle for a solo goal for 6-5 and they had one last attack to equalise but couldn’t do so.
Despite the result this was a thoroughly enjoyable game, with Epsom’s ‘next generation’ of James Tuck, Liam White and Rob Sydenham all playing really well against a Chichester side which contained several current National League players. Epsom have one more game remaining at home to Basingstoke this coming Saturday and will hope to put in a good performance to round off an entertaining season.