Epsom & Ewell Full Match Report by Graham Harris

Match Report by Graham Harris
Godalming 3 (0) – (0) 2 Epsom & Ewell
Cliff Keen
There was a well observed one minute silence before kick off in memory of Cliff Keen who sadly passed away recently. He was a founding member, a Vice President and Trustee of GTFC. RIP Cliff.
What a rich vein of form the G’s have produced and what a time to do it, with 12 league games to go we are closing the gap on the top sides and have demonstrated that, if we have a full complement of players available and the right work ethic, there is no side to fear in this League.
When the G’s went to E & E earlier in the season it turned out to be a tough, tight game where the G’s had to come back from going a goal down to level the score, before getting the winner through Connor Blanchard in the final few minutes. It was a remarkable strike from some way out.
It was similar on this occasion. Again, initially the G’s going behind, then coming back to level the score before going 2 -1 up through two fine goals from Charlie Oakley. Only on this occasion E & E bagged a second goal to level it through the League’s top scorer Jamie Byatt. But the G’s were not done and Charlie Oakley turned provider in giving a great ball across the goal face for that man Connor Blanchard, to score and take all the points for the G’s for the second time this season.
E & E came to the Bill Kyte stadium, on another cold and sunless afternoon, riding high at the top of the League, whilst this was the first game in almost three weeks for their hosts who had worked their way up to 7th in the table with a recent run of good form, including at their last outing a good 3 – 0 win over second placed Midhurst and Easebourne.
Although the home side got off to a pretty good start, with most of the territory and possession, they must have realised it was going to be another battle when the first proper attack from E & E saw a shot which caused the G’s to clear off their line, before the clearance was struck powerfully back and skimmed off the top of Adrian’s crossbar.
The G’s were getting forward and getting into good positions, but not really finding the quality of final pass or shot to trouble the visiting keeper. Sam Boultwood again getting into a good shooting situation, but only able to hit his shot pretty well straight at the visiting stopper.
So, it was scoreless at half time with the G’s having had slightly more of the possession and territory, but their visitors the only decent chances of the half.
The dark clouds were menacing at half time and there was a noticeable drop in temperature when the mist and fog started to roll across Wey Court. However, the temperature on the pitch started to rise.
After about 15 minutes of the second half of mainly G’s pressure, the visitors got their noses in front. The first goal that the G’s have conceded for a while.
Connor Blanchard got in a great run and hit a super shot that was dipping below the E & E bar before their keeper managed to get a hand to it and tip the ball over the crossbar. Captured on video, so do go to the website for the link. The resulting corner came in, but was only partly cleared and Rob Parrott tried to hit a snap shot that spun away off his boot. Charlie chased it down out on the G’s left side. Somehow, he managed to find space to squeeze a shot in through a crowd of defenders to draw the score level. The G’s supporters responded. E & E knew they were in a contest now.
James Frudd who had had a good game with so much energy in defence and going forward, was then replaced by Cameron Edwin the G’s top scorer coming back after being suspended.
The G’s were still going all out for a winner and some fine runs down each flank. Matt Cox showed what a good player he is going forward, as well as in defence.
The game was ping ponging from one end to the other and Adrian Giles pulled of a remarkable triple block I believe. I cannot wait to see the video of that one on his YouTube channel.
Lucca Scanella came off with a knock after another good performance from him, this time at left back and it is great that we had both James Colinese and Myles Davidson on the bench for Phil to choose from. James got the nod to join the game.
Sam Boultwood came off with about 15 minutes to go after another strong performance from him alongside Rob Parrott and Kurt Greenaway who all put in so much effort and ran their legs off to win the ball and break up attacks.
Jahobi Maher came on to replace him with a clear intention of introducing more attacking threat.
Charlie was looking to get onto any through balls and did that well going down the right before delivering a good ball across the face of the goal where it was great to see Cameron flying in, but despite sticking out those long legs this time he could not quite make contact.
But, only moments later as the ball came in from the G’s left Charlie gained possession just inside the area before making a little space on the turn and hitting a shot past the E&E keeper to make it 2-1 to the G’s.
E & E now had to throw everything at the G’s defence if they were to get anything out of this game and Jamie Byatt is not the League top scorer for nothing, and despite his diminutive stature he somehow battered his way through some challenges in the G’s box to equalise from close range as the match was drawing to its conclusion.
I suppose many of us thought, “oh well a draw is a pretty good result looking at the stats”. But it was not yet over.
Charlie Oakley is a fine striker too and he made another break to the left-hand side as he advanced towards the goal at the training ground end and instead of shooting this time he managed to pick out a super low ball to set up Connor Blanchard at the far post to once again torment E & E, but with an easy tap in this time. He told me after that Phil has been nagging him to get to the far post more often.
All round another terrific performance from the whole squad. Man of the Match? Impossible for me. There were far too many of them. On any other occasion getting two goals (and narrowly missing a third with a fine header from a corner only 18 inches off the deck that forced a save from the visiting keeper) and an assist would easily have won Charlie Oakley the award, but there were so many other great performances on the day.
Adrian Giles kept us in it and he instils confidence in the guys in front of him. He is one of those who has been the foundation stones of the improvement in form for the team. I even saw him having a good laugh with the lads in the bar after! Alongside Adrian, Luke Beale who leads like a real captain making interceptions, covering tackles, important headers, game in game out. He has had a new partner now in James Mariner who looked just as delighted as he did at the end against Midhurst to have completed 90 minutes injury free.
That is where your success come from. When the whole team performs like that, the results will come.
How good is it to look at the bench at the start of the game and see players with the quality of Connor Young, Cameron Edwin, Myles Davidson, James Colinese, Jahobi Maher ready to enter the fray. They will all be needed I am sure as the fixtures now come thick and fast.
After a few bleak seasons, good times at GTFC. Long may it continue.
A big thanks to Phil and his team Tony Robets, Steve’s Petrkin and Snelling James McArthur and Mo Sher for all their hard work on and off the pitch. I hope you are all enjoying it.