Epsom: 3 (Bond, Midmer 2)
Epsom made the long trip down the A3, M25, M23 and A23 to take on Eastbourne on Saturday; a fixture both sides needed to win in the early stages of South Prem 2 East.
Epsom initially showed no sign of the long journey by strolling into an early 2-0 lead in the sunshine. After 4 minutes a well-worked attack down the right played in Paul Atkinson, whose fierce drive was deflected home by roving defender Alex Bond. Soon after, another attack down the left played in James Midmer to volley home for 2-0. Epsom were unable to maintain this intensity and Eastbourne gradually took control of the game in the midfield, winning a number of short corners as the first half went on. Epsom saw out around five of these before the hosts converted a well-worked routine for 2-1. Eastbourne then passed up a glorious chance for an equaliser before half time and it was obvious the momentum was with the home side.
Epsom read the riot act at half-time but it made little difference with Eastbourne continuing to have the momentum. Some strong forward running saw the home side won a further series of short-corners; James Tuck made some fine saves but the hosts eventually converted another for 2-2. Soon after, yet another short corner saw an improvised reverse-stick shot make it 3-2. Epsom seemed down and out but their heroic defence worked overtime and saw out yet more short corners. Epsom then belatedly flickered into life in the closing stages; Will Hunt and Midmer both went close before Epsom won a late short corner; a neat routine saw Midmer make it 3-3. The last 5 minutes saw both sides have short corner chances for a winner, but to be honest it would have been undeserved for Epsom who by that stage were down to a weary 10 men and grateful to take a point back up the long road home.
This was a brave effort from a slightly below-strength Epsom, but they will need to regroup and improve to take on early leaders Sevenoaks 2s at home next week, all support welcome!