Mens 4 – come from behind but get a draw vs Woking

AndrewM Match reports, Men's 4th xi

So off to Woking we went, and as per Captain Emails instructions we arrived prompt at 9.15. Regrettably Woking did not turn up until 9.30 (sensible bunch they are) and we had to borrow the extra pitch for warm-up. However they did supply 2 umpires, so our thanks go out to them, and for turning up on an early Saturday morning to ensure our game was played by generally accepted rules.

Hot on the heels of a great win vs. London Edwardian’s last week, we knew we were in with a great chance of finally beating Woking, whom just seem to pip us every time we do play them. Just what would today bring – if you can handle the excitement pls. read on.

Into the game, and we started really well, creating some good chances and even a rare deflected shot on goal by yours truly. Clearly an awesome shot, and was matched only by an equally awesome save.  Fair to say an evenly matched game, albeit we did feel the decisions were not always fair, but as above we do not knock the umpires and they are doing their best. Anyway, another Woking dribble (i.e. up their attackers leg, round his arm, along his shoulder, onto his other arm, down his leg and back onto the floor) saw the ball then get played across the D for their first goal. A bit suspect, but was awarded so there it is.

To be fair, one of their short corners was hit hard towards our goal, deflected off another attackers stick and into the net, but not given. So all in all, I am happy to state that Woking scored 1 goal in the first half, and were right to be 1-0 up at half time – just not convinced which goal was a goal, and which wasn’t.

Undeterred, our half time talk was positive and the vision and experience of Syd came through, when he pointed out we were all defending too deep, and at times managed to keep all 11 Epsom players behind the ball – therefore it was no surprise we were always on the back foot, but was a surprise so many balls still got through. So a simple but inspired decision to go and attack the game and play more attacking stuff as if we wanted to score today.

Maybe, if we could score more short-corners we would win more and be higher up the league as we had at least 7-8 corners and none looked particularly threatening #trainingisonThursdays. Woking pressed on and after Tom had made yet another great save,  managed to hit the deflected ball back over Tom and into the goal for 2-0 up. Not looking good, we were behind, were having no decisions our way today but are battlers to the end.

Pressure continued and we were awarded another short corner, at which point Syd came up to the plate,  and smashed the next one in – OK so it rolled towards the goal with such little pace, that we wondered if it would actually reach the goal, but Jack D managed to dance above it (lets see more of those moves tonight at the party hey Jack ?) and this clearly upset the defenders who stood and watched it roll under the keeper, and I think it may have ended up reaching the back board – but not sure. Anyway it crossed the line, and we had finally scored a short corner. 2-1 and we were back in it.

It then became a battle of the sides, with good attacking pressure from both, but Epsom forged on and started to win more than we were losing. Jamie managed to collect the ball from above his head, and Woking called for a card to be issued, and not sure if Jamie was playing International rules, or just did not know the local rules, but he assured me afterwards the Woking players were simply complaining about his sheer skill above his head.  Jamie stayed on the pitch – just.

Real determination from Epsom, and we attacked with more purpose and Jamie tried a reverse hit, which surprisingly went rather well and was a sure goal, but for the Woking defender who somehow managed to stop it on the line. We then turned to will power and saw 12 minds and collective will- power force the ball forward one more time, and in the dying seconds of the game, I hit the ball across the D, which Jack D deflected on for a shot at goal, and which seem to ping off about 5-6 players, before being headed in by Jamie (who should not have been on the pitch anyway) – oops wrong sport. So I saw Jamie dive forward with his stick on his head (had he not learned from the previous infringement, or was he getting ready with his alien outfit for later? – not quite sure) and the ball bounced off both posts, back across the line and the Epsom will-power alone saw this cross the line for a well deserved 2-2 draw.

End of the day, probably a fair result, and 2-2 draw see us earn 1 more valuable point, and protects our top half of the table position (6 out of 12 is top half – just) with the 1 game and 17 sleeps to go before Christmas.  Talking of which, Woking Teas was a full roast dinner and for me wins teas of the season so far (but please guys can we eat up the sprouts and carrots).

So, another game, another reasonable result and another case of making up some MOM and TFC votes.  From the guys having a beer after the game, think Tom won Man on the Match for some great saves (apart from the 2 that he didn’t save), to keep us in the game. TFC nearly went to Jamie, for his above head stop, but then again he did score the equaliser;  so just has to go to our ever reliable Captain email, for first trying to control the ball 3 times with one hand on the reverse stick (and missed each attempt) before watching the ball run off the side line, and then spending yet again 15 minutes more than anyone else, by his own in the shower – no idea what he gets up to in there………  See you at the clubhouse tonight for those going later. Steve