Back to our more usual team this week, and after the thrashing by Kenley against our very changed team last Saturday, we were looking more hopeful vs. Surbiton today. Indeed with Mark Pilling controlling the defence, and welcome new addition of Harry (albeit “half game Harry” as he will now be known) and return of our prodigy Jamie Perkins, we were looking good. First half was close, but Epsom remained dominant in every area, and this game was ours to win. Surbiton had resorted to the big one ball down the middle, whereas we were playing the better hockey with crisp short passes and as a team were here to win. Eventually the ball came out to Jack on his favoured reverse side and he calmly hit the ball back into the top of the net for a deserved 1-0 lead.
Ultimately, we could have been 2 or 3 up at half time, with Jack having another (reverse – boring…..) shot well picked out by the Surbiton keeper from the top corner, Dan just missing a neat deflection for a sure goal by millimetres and then Jack rounding their defence and with just the keeper to beat reversed it wide. So all Epsom, but only 1-0 at half time, and Surbiton were still in the game. Second half was strangely different. OK so we did our usual trick of falling apart a bit in the latter stages, but Surbiton seemed to have 2 new midfielders appear (on home turf – how odd?) who were quite good and we were facing a very different team. To be fair to Surbiton, their whole play was lifted and second half was a much closer game.
Game changing moments were Surbiton’s 2 short corners which were both well defended, only for the injector to receive the ball back about 4 foot out and smash both in for 2 goals. So we were facing an unexpected and unwarranted 2-1 defeat.
Great pressure continued and everyone wanted to push onwards for a better outcome, and some great runs continued from Mazza, Jamie, Jack and Dan, some strong battling in midfield from Simon and Kris and solid defence, including a tidy deflection off the line by Andy Adams (actually the ball was flicked up and he somehow managed to pick this up and deflect it wide to keep the score at 2-1.
Even Maj was soaring up-field (OK so he moved forwards) and one of our short corners (ps we scored none today) came out to Maj about 2 foot from the Surbiton line and with players sprawling everywhere just had to smash the ball on target for his first ever Epsom goal. Surely, surely he would score. Nope he placed the ball onto a defenders stick which rebounded out to Jack who reversed (getting really boring, but effective now) it back in, off a defenders foot (Caggers as Umpire, very sensibly watching the advantaged unfold as the ball lifted up into the net for a well deserved equaliser.
Really not much of note happened thereafter. Or did it….. In the heat of the moment the ball was cunningly passed across the Epsom Midfield from right to left and Maj determined to make his mark shouted ‘Leave it, it’s mine’ so all players realising Maj was soaring ahead (and clearly must have been in a better position than everyone else) left it to Maj – Kris left it, Simon left it, but surprisingly Maj seemed to leave it as well – doh ! Oh well, at least no one noticed this or later voted him TFC yet again. So a hard fought game for Epsom to come back from 2-1 down to at least claim the deserved draw, albeit we could and should have won today. But to be fair, some great hockey from both sides and 2-2 was a reasonable summary of the game. Some really good performances from Half game Harry, Jamie Perkins, Dan, and Mazza but Jack was voted MoM for his 2 goals (pity he didn’t make it 3!), and whilst some stray TFC votes to Dan for smashing one shot over the 30 foot fence behind the goal, it just had to be Maj for his ‘Leave it’ call and debacle which followed. Tough game next week vs. Thames Valley – see you all then. Steve