Men’s 4’s – Come From Behind (2-2 vs Croydon)

AndrewM Match reports, Men's 4th xi

Before Captain email had explained that we could win, lose or draw this game, we knew it would be a hard game today against unbeaten league leaders Croydon 2’s at their home turf –or manor as I think is known locally by the Croydon massif. But in true Epsom spirit we tend to rise up against these seemingly impossible games and conversely throw it away against easier games – so essentially anything could happen and Maj was strangely and spookily right (see the Halloween link building here?) – we could win, lose or draw.

Umpiring was interesting, and even before the game started their no.3 was called over by the ref in the previous game for banter on the sideline for a game he had no involvement or interest in. In true sporting spirit we suggested he should get carded (just sounded funny at the time) but the umpire decided he would crack on with his own game and leave us retards to our later game.

Game started well (OK so the whistle blew and the two teams tried to score more past their opposition than let in, so guess this was a good start) and we were holding league leaders well. Indeed with the speed of Matt Breese, Jack and Mazza up front we created more chances and could and perhaps should have gone ahead. Clearly a spell had been placed and we just could not convert the many chances. Against the run of play Croydon had a deflection in the D which beat Ollie and we were 1-0 down. Shortly after a short-corner was awarded against us, and despite their injector having both feet behind the line, the ball was injected and neatly smashed in for 2-0 up.  Fair, not fair – you decide but the goal stood and we were 2-0 down.

Gallantly we battled on, and whilst we were losing, we have many experiences of taking it from behind and our spirit did not falter here. So we battled on, and eventually the ball spilled out to Matt Breese in the D who smashed in back in for 2-1.  Half time blew and this was another close encounter which remained open to all. Suddenly in between the half time ramblings of a madman, there appeared the most amazing sight – was it a ghost, was it a premonition or was it some ghastly beast from last night festivities – no, it was our saviour – please welcome on the Jelly-Babies. Now we have missed the half-time treats, and clearly someone had mugged a small child last night out trick or treating and brought along the spoils of their raiding – a large bag of Epsom favourites – jelly babies. Surely with us re-fuelled nothing was going to stop us now. Second half started a bit sluggish and almost as if twilight hour had occurred – although spookily it felt like 30 degrees today and who have thought you could get a suntan in November ?

Eventually our pressure was awarded, when Jack (I would say he was great today, and he did run round their defence quite a few times, and he was rather good, but that would be a biased view from his Dad who by comparison was slow and useless, so I won’t mention it at all) rounded a few defenders and blasted the ball into the D, where Mazza thinking he was at the Pavilion end of Lords, batted the ball up and past their keeper into the goal for a great 2-2 equaliser. From there we held our composure and could have indeed won the game. To be fair, Croydon battled hard and did not want to ruin their run of 4 straight wins in a row and pressurised us back. Ollie in goal was alive to all, and deservedly was awarded man of the match for some great saves and coming out to dive and win the ball from under the Croydon attackers sticks. So it ended up a fair and reasonable 2-2 draw with a hard fought and well mannered game.

Result aside, we voted for TFC and not quite sure how this happened as despite Kris and Andy tacking themselves in our D; Jack trying to run through Daniel before realising he is about 2 foot and 8 stone heavier; Mazza failing to catch the ball from the sideline and nearly breaking his hand, and Maj head-butting the goal post, all these were forgotten or overlooked in favour of Matt Breese who did one dodgy pass back which went to their attacker. If honest, Matt was great today, and if we had 11 of these TFC’s on the pitch today we would have comfortably won so not sure how this happened. But the rules (17.4 sub-clause b) state that the team decision is final, so Matt has the walk of shame tonight in the pink Men’s 4’s TFC shirt.  Great game and tough one next week vs. Kenley. Steve