Mens 4’s : Battle for deserved win vs Surbiton.

AndrewM Match reports, Men's 4th xi

Onto a home game this week vs. Surbiton, and who narrowly beat us at their ground in the first half of the season, but we knew we could take back some points on the return. OK so woke up on my 43rd Birthday (at this age, I always find a good start is to wake up), and with this age and responsibility comes teenage kids, one who rocked in about 3pm (but did come to watch our cold and wet game – as a one off experience) and one who was still up playing Play Station until I advised him that we needed him for an important game of Hockey later on.  And o yes, I forgot to stop drinking the night before, so with less sleep and a heavy night before I may have been a bit jaded myself – but at least no one could tell…..

Looking at league positions and we were favourites for the win, but as with any game, you can only play the team in front of you. Fair to say a hard fought, and fast game but in the first 20 minutes we were confidently on top, but not by a huge margin. Jack clearly had recovered from his PS warm up, and along with Dan and Rob Maslin up front ran riot early on. First 5 minutes and Jack went round three of their defenders was on for a sure hero’s goal, but hit it just wide of the far post – but a warning sign had been laid – we were here to win. Our first goal finally came by Jack outrunning their defender, sprinting to the back line and crossing it back to the top of the D where Jamie Perkins (now recovered from his infamous wrist injury…..) slapped the ball in for 1-0 up.  Our second was a Jack solo effort (getting bored with this now) who again out-run their defence and slipped the ball between the keepers legs.

Doing well, but Surbiton battled back and as always are a danger. Some great defending by Rob Pringle, the ever reliable Matt Smith, and Jamie Gould’s large rear which actually moves quite surprisingly quick at times; and some fantastic saves from Mike ‘the cat’ Sutton in goal. Eventually they scored from a short corner (yes, I could draw comparisons to our own routine, but again is getting boring now) and 2-1 was getting close.  I did manage to crack a ball up, up and away, but which managed to hit Jack who was jumping out of the way from 3 foot away, and which left a nice shot wound on his leg. This was noticed by most and unfortunately remembered at the post match analysis. Back to the game – No idea quite how our 3rd goal was set up, but whilst taking my turn on the sideline, Rob Maslin just seemed to dart in from nowhere at lightning pace and tap the ball into the Surbiton goal – so 3-1 up at half time and looking decent, but never complacent.

Group discussion at half time, and universally agreed that we hadn’t done much wrong were playing well, and had this game in our grasp. A need to play the ball out wider, and not through the Surbiton team who seemed to pick up everything, and all decided that the next goal was critical – either to give us clear air, or for Surbiton to get back in.

Into the second half, and much of the same. Some interesting methods of defending by Surbiton, and some more interesting decisions given against us, but we carried on knowing we could win this. Some really good attacking play by Epsom, and eventually the ball came out to Dan on a sharp angle outside the far post, who smashed the ball first time back across the goal and into the side board for the much needed 4-1 position. A great goal, I am sure, and no idea quite how he pulled it off, but it looked great from where I was.  So we were running away with the win and surely we would not let this one slip through our grasp……… OK so it was a hard battle to the end, Surbiton refused to give up, and did manage to score 2 more goals leaving the score a 4-3 win to Epsom, and reflective of the hard fought and close game that it was. But a thoroughly deserved win by Epsom , and right that we took the 3 points back from our earlier defeat.

The attendance from the 4’s back at the clubhouse is now becoming legendary, and we again had 8-9 players, 2 supporters (nb my 18 year old Amy, has advised it was good to watch a game, but too cold to consider a repeat performance) and 1 Chris Breeze as heckler to celebrate and analyze our win. A great turn out again.   So “Man-of-the-Match” and “Thanks-For-Coming” were seemingly simple votes this week, and a game of 2 Renggers.  One was young, fit and quite frankly shit hot today, the other was feeling much older and played just the same, but without the ‘hot’ bit added.   So a clean sweep from the Renggers, and we came away with both awards – I’m just so proud……… Off to Wanderers next week, who had lost all games this season, but had pulled off a surprising 9-1 away win vs. Trinity (sounds like a strange result, but we like Wanderers from previous seasons, and good on them for getting some points on the board).